Great Clips History

David Rubenzer and Steve Lemmon, the founders of Great Clips, opened the first Great Clips salon in September 1982. The premise behind their dream was to develop a system for delivering competitively priced, high-quality haircuts to men, women and children with no appointments. When Great Clips opened the first salons back in 1982, David and Steve could see the future. With hard work, solid business practices and the right people this new concept would truly revolutionize the haircare industry.  

Ray Barton joined David and Steve in late 1982, after several successful salons were opened, and they set about expanding the concept through franchising. In 1983, Ray called his friends, Roger and Marylu Ledebuhr, every night for well over a month, hounding them to open the first Great Clips franchise in Brooklyn Center, Minn. Partially in an effort to stop Ray from calling and to get some peace and quiet, the Ledebuhrs and their partner Mary Lou Barton agreed to open the first Great Clips franchise—that first franchised location opened on July 16, 1983.

Today, as Great Clips Chairman, Ray Barton recalls, “In 1988, I set a goal to reach 3,000 salons and everyone thought I was crazy. I was naive enough to believe we could do it, and we did! We were customer-focused; we had a great system, a focused development strategy and a strong relationship with our franchisees (salon owners),” notes Barton. Over the past three decades, Great Clips has continued to apply this same steady approach that made them the world's largest salon brand. 

Vision to Legacy: The Great Clips Story was released on June 25, 2013. This book tells the story of Great Clips’ first 30 years. The history book was co-authored by Shelby Yastrow and Steve LeBeau. Yastrow, the retired general counsel, executive vice president and secretary of McDonald’s Corporation, has been on the Great Clips Board of Directors since 1995 and resides in Scottsdale, Arizona. LeBeau is a writer, editor and former journalist who lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.

To place an order for your copy of Vision to Legacy, please visit our publisher's secure website: