Crain's profile on head of American Laser Centers

Rich Morgan, 39
American Laser Centers L.L.C.
Farmington Hills

Biggest achievement: Creating American Laser Centers in 2002 and building it into one of the nation’s largest laser hair-removal chains.

Current goal: To open 20 more corporate-owned clinics and recruit more than 100 more licensees in the next year, and to become the dominant laser hair-removal company in the U.S.

About four years ago, Rich Morgan was working as a site-selection consultant for Lynnwood, Wash.-based Advanced Laser Clinics Inc., when he decided to become a licensee. But after about two weeks, Morgan began to think that the business model wouldn’t work.

So Morgan broke away and created his own laser hair-removal company — American Laser Centers L.L.C. — in 2002 with partners Benn Gilmore and Leonard LaCivita.

In less than three years, they’ve built a network of 53 company-owned clinics in 14 states with $24.3 million in annual sales.

In July, Morgan bought Advanced Laser Clinics, a company with six corporate-owned clinics and more than 70 licensee-owned clinics. With that acquisition, Morgan projects his company will top $52 million in sales this year.

“We have roughly 400 employees that are working for us and … we have a really motivated, energetic staff,” Morgan said. “That’s what I take the most pride in.”

Morgan said he chose Detroit because it was one of two markets that had little or no competition for laser hair removal.

Chicago was the other market, but Morgan knew his business plan required lots of flying, and he said Detroit Metropolitan Airport’s McNamara Terminal is a nice airport that is far easier to access than Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.

Born in Mt. Vernon, Wash., Morgan began his career in the grocery industry and became a store director with Haggen Foods. Later, he owned beauty salons in the Seattle area and a dry cleaners, as well as several other companies.

— Brent Snavely