A Pittsburgh-based consultant who has focused for the past four years on matching potential business owners to the right franchise is putting his money where his mouth is.
Chris Cynkar has purchased the area development rights for Deka Lash in Philadelphia. He partnered with Michael Blair, the CEO of Deka Lash, a McMurray-based franchisor of eyelash extension studios, on the transaction. Financials were not disclosed.
“We think the Philadelphia market can hold 30 strong locations,” Cynkar said.
Cynkar has been a franchise consultant for Minneapolis-based FranChoice Inc. for almost four years, working with candidates across the country. He has been an entrepreneur, private equity investor and educator and continues the latter, teaching a course called Entrepreneurial Alternatives at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business.
“This is the first time I’ve ended up investing in a business that was part of the FranChoice portfolio,” he said.
Partnering with Blair is unique as well, Cynkar said, but they bring complementary skills to the table.
“Michael is a talented operator, and I help to find great owners of these businesses,” Cynkar said.
Blair and his wife Jennifer launched Deka Lash in 2011, a chain of retail salons that apply semi-permanent custom eyelash extensions to clients’ own lashes.
The company said it now has 70 retail stores open or in development. That includes five operating in the Pittsburgh metro, with Fox Chapel and Washington, Pa., to be added in the coming months. Deka Lash in January announced that it had entered Salt Lake City, Utah, and planned locations for Texas, Nevada and California this year.
“Philadelphia, for us, is a market that has terrific demographics,” Cynkar said. “It’s close to where Michael and I are, in Pittsburgh, and it’s a market that has limited competition.”
At least for the time being, Cynkar isn’t looking to add more territories.
“For me, Philadelphia will provide enough opportunity for the next five years,” he said.
Although Cynkar has worked in different areas, he said he’s refined his focus to helping people get into business for themselves.
“That’s the combination of my franchise work and my teaching at CMU,” he said. “It’s about helping people to become business owners in whatever facet works right for them.”