35 Pacific Retail Management


$5.8 million




Nicola Mills, 47

Head office


Year founded





Retail and consumer products



This year marks Pacific Retail Management’s second time in the Smart50.

After coming in at number 50 last year, the parent company of franchises Go Sushi, Wasabi Warriors and Kick! Juice Bars has jumped 15 spots to rank 35 this year.

The company was turning over $1 million within two years of operating and in the last financial year turned over $5.8 million.

Founder Nicole Mills started Pacific Retail Management after taking over the Go Sushi brand in 2008 and raising enough capital to develop the Wasabi Warriors brand and reinvigorate Kick! Juice Bars.

Weeks after purchasing Go Sushi, however, Mill’s discovery of “a mountain of debt and issues with the franchisees” threatened to derail the business.

Cash flow pressures associated with Kick! Juice early on also led to partnership problems and a “crossroads” which could have seen Mills go back to her previous career in media.

But Mills chose to work hard to restore partnerships and the bushiness has benefited from strong growth in the past few years.

Pacific Retail Management has opened almost 20 franchises in the past two years, with plans to open another five by June next year, while the number of full-time staff has also increased by 10 to 25 in the past 12 months.

Mills says the business has also experienced growth because of the in-program Manage to Own, which is designed to help franchisees get into business for less and “pay as they go” with the profits the make.

“(It allows) people to enter into a business at about a third of the cost, and pay for the rest of the business from the profits they make running the business,” she says.

In December 2014, Mills saw an opportunity to expand into wholesale and bought Sushi Ginza.

Since the acquisition, Pacific Management’s national team now look after over 40 retail outlets and 300 wholesale sites.

Mill says the next 12 months would be about expanding on the “incredible interest” in Sushi Ginza and focusing on continuing the success of the Manage to Own Program.