Your Next Big Thing: Is there still room for you?

Written by ProfitGuide

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Green light

Nail salons: A $15 to $20 manicure offers women a fast, cheap way to look better. Vietnamese immigrants led the low-overhead sector to U.S. revenue of US$6.3 billion last year — up 20% in just two years. Canadian stats aren’t available, but Dale Peers, director of the Canadian Cosmetics Careers Association, says nail salons have only begun to spread beyond Toronto and Vancouver, and even there the market is far from saturated. A new segment is now taking off: trendy “nail bars” that focus on natural nails, not gel fakes, and that are zealously clean to allay concerns about hygiene at some discounters.

Yellow light

Self-storage facilities: So many of us are accumulating stuff faster than the space to put it in that the number of self-storage facilities in Canada jumped 25% since 2001, to 3,000. The industry is widening its appeal by replacing rows of garages in lumberyards with prime-location storefronts boasting climate control and fire-safety services. Downsizing over the next 15 years among boomers, many of them moving to one of the condos springing up across urban Canada, will add to demand. But operators worry they’ve expanded too fast: 49% of Canadian Self Storage Association members say their local market is overbuilt.

Red light

Payday loan stores: A billion-dollar industry has arisen to offer short-term loans in the dozen years since deregulation led the banks to abandon this turf. But a shake-out will occur if Ottawa, at the urging of the Canadian Payday Loan Association, moves to let the provinces regulate Canada’s 1,300-plus outlets. The likely target: hardball lenders whose practices include doubling the fee to roll over loans that clients can’t pay back. Squeezing out the sharks would reinforce the growing dominance of National Money Mart (344 stores), Rentcash (298) and Cash Money (70-plus), leaving little room for anyone else.

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