When Ken Petersen and Tom Brady were attending the fire academy together in the late 1970s, the two friends from Vacaville, Calif., never imagined that 30 years later, their job would involve checking out each other’s butts. But these days, as the heads of fashion boutique franchise Apricot Lane, taking a peek at labels no matter where they may be is second nature.
So how did two firemen go from hooks and ladders to dresses and jeans? During the 80’s and 90’s while off-duty they ran a small chain of furniture stores, which they eventually sold to launch the Country Clutter collectibles franchise. In 2005 sales tanked, and the partners started hunting around for another franchise concept. What they found was fashion. “We realized there are thousands of tiny boutiques and lots of giant department stores, but nothing in the middle,” Petersen says.