Where else can you go surfing in the morning, drive an hour or two, and go snow skiing in the afternoon?Don Tollefson, franchise owner since 1995, recalling what it was like living in Southern California in his twenties.
California native, Don Tollefson, grew up in Northern California, and then moved to Southern California during high school, where he worked in the restaurant business in Orange County during his teens and twenties. After getting married, however, he traded in the waves and sunshine, moving to rural Spokane, WA, and then to Minnesota, in pursuit of a business opportunity and lifestyle that would support and accommodate his family.
In Minnesota, Tollefson joined his uncle in his egg farm business, eventually buying it from him and converting it into a shower-in and shower-out hog farm. Responding to consumer demand, Tollefson used tireless work and innovation to turn his business into one of the largest of its kind in the state, serving the Twin Cities and raising over 95,000 hogs! Eventually able to leverage his market share, Tollefson ended up successfully negotiating a buy-out of his business to a large corporation, and then decided to look into his next business venture.
Coincidentally, as he was looking at every possible franchise option available, he ran across a classified ad for employment at a local Batteries Plus store in Apple Valley, MN. Upon inquiring about the job, in-person, with store owner, Bill Criego, he was given a free phone battery and some prompt advice. Apparently, Tollefson wasn’t too convincing, and Criego knew all too well that Don was interested in becoming a franchisee, not an employee. Soon after their meeting, it didn’t take long for Tollefson to realize that this was truly the best franchise opportunity around. Since there weren’t any Batteries Plus stores yet in California, he jumped at the chance to return “home” and bring Batteries Plus to the Sunshine State and the Sacramento area.
The business model of this franchise is so good that longevity in and of itself will breed success. However, if you really apply yourself and know how to effectively operate a business, you can do really well owning a Batteries Plus Bulbs.
Tollefson loves the climate, culture and access to so many great destinations that comes with living just outside of Sacramento – “Within a couple of hours, you can be in the Bay Area, Wine Country, or beautiful Lake Tahoe.” And despite all the regulations that make California the least business-friendly state in the union, Tollefson loves where he lives and being a part of the Sacramento market and business community.
Having opened his very first Batteries Plus store in January 1996, Tollefson says that he’s having even more fun running the business now than he had back then. Don and his wife, Cathy, and Ryan and his wife, Heather, are all involved in the company. Tollefson thoroughly enjoys working with his family and alongside his son. It’s a special opportunity for each of them to learn from each other and complement each other’s skills, effectively growing the business through their unique teamwork.
GETTING TO KNOW DON:
– Has an affinity for cars and is a member of the Porsche Club of America
– Shows his Flat Coated Retriever in Dog Shows
– Enjoys volunteering at his church and local retail district organization – Sunrise Marketplace in Citrus Heights
“I’m sort of old-school, where I like to go to the stores and see how things are being done,” remarks Tollefson. “Whereas, Ryan is skilled at implementing new automated systems that help our business grow in ways I never would have thought of.”
In addition to working with family, Tollefson continues to enjoy the evolution of the company in general. Noting that years ago, when he opened his first store, many people he talked to were skeptical about what he was doing and now, everyone he talks to about Batteries Plus Bulbs understands the need for this business, appreciating the niche that it fills. Furthermore, the product selection and overall scope of the business continue to grow, just like the square footage of his stores; his first one was only 975 sq. ft. of retail space, and his most recent ones are just over 3000 sq. ft. total, with over 2000 sq. ft. of retail space!
With four stores currently open and plans to open two more shortly, Tollefson remains optimistic about the future growth of his business and the vast opportunities that await him.
Don knows that Customer Service is vital to the success of his business. He trains his team on the three elements, or “TLC”, of customer service, to ensure his customers are satisfied with their experience in his stores:
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We repair broken Apple® devices, including iPads®, iPhones® and iPods®, most Samsung® devices and many more. Plus, we have screen protectors for cell phones and tablets.
In-store services include (among others):
• Cracked Screen Replacement
• Button Replacement
• Camera Repair
• Charge-port Repair
• Headphone-jack Repair
• Speaker Repair
• Battery Installation
• Screen Protector Installation
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Batteries Plus Bulbs, founded in 1988 and headquartered in Hartland, WI, is a leading omni-channel retailer of batteries, light bulbs and smartphone repair services for the direct-to-consumer and commercial channels.Through a nationwide network of stores, the Company offers a differentiated value proposition of unrivaled product selection, in-stock availability and customer service.
Batteries Plus Bulbs is owned by Freeman Spogli, a private equity firm based in Los Angeles and New York City. To learn more about one of Forbes® Top 10 Best Franchises in America for the past three years, visit Batteries Plus Bulbs Franchise