Smart50 Awards 2014

50 Pacific Retail Management

Revenue

More than $3 million

Growth

47.04%

Founders

Nicola Mills, 45

Head Office

Sydney

Year Founded

2007

Employees

18

Industry

Food and Beverage

Website

Pacificretail.com.au

When Nicola Mills purchased sushi franchise Go Sushi in 2008, the brand, which had been operating since 1999, wasn’t in good shape.

Although she’d done her research to know the sushi sector was a growing category with plenty of potential, the franchise had been left in a terrible state and considerable debt.

“The franchisees were very disconnected and unhappy and management weren’t communicating well,” says Mills.

“They’d lost brand passion.”

Mills, who comes from a background in radio, says it took around two or three years to rebuild those relationships, rebuilding trust in the franchisor by proving themselves through several of their company-run stores.

“It took longer than I thought to get the business on its feet, but once we hit that point, we really started to take off.”

With a growing Australian appetite for sushi, including strong growth in the demographics of men and children, Go Sushi was soon bringing in solid revenue and franchisees were renewing their franchise agreements.

These days Pacific Retail Management, which also owns and operates sushi brand Wasabi Warriors and Kick Juice Bars, turns over more than $3 million annually and lists more than 50 stores across its three brands.

The company has also recently diversified into a new wholesale business, Sushi Tribe, which provides sushi for schools and hospitals.

With operations soon opening in international markets including Dubai, Hong Kong and the Philippines, Mills says her focus is maintaining growth.

“We will open at least three international stores by the end of the year, and then hopefully more.”

“But while the international stuff is exciting, we are really focusing on Australia.”

She says the company is also on the lookout for acquisition targets, although the success of the sushi market means there are not many businesses currently looking to sell.

“Even though we have more competitors, it’s such a strong market. Buying Go Sushi was a great choice.”

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