I remember the first time I drove by a Batteries Plus store, back in 1992, as I passed by the brand-new Pewaukee location that would serve as the corporate headquarters for many years, and is still the training center for all new franchisees and technicians. Like many people, I thought, “A store just for batteries? Hmmm. Really?” And now, being a part of the company’s 25th Anniversary celebration, I see that it has become so much more than that.
Like anniversaries do, this has become a time to reminisce. And after seeing all the old photos, watching the old commercials, and listening to the old stories, I see that, like all of us, Batteries Plus has evolved, adapted and grown-up over the years. The company, which started with a few employees (some of which still work here!), in Green Bay, WI, with one location, has emanated into a nationally recognized franchise, with hundreds of locations and hundreds of employees, impacting the lives and livelihood of tens of thousands of people all across the country.
Although the business-model still heavily supports larger battery applications, like car, powersports and power back-up, it has taken on a life of its own, adapting to emerging computer, mobile and energy-efficient lighting technologies. It has become a franchise with hundreds of neighborhood storefronts, serving communities across the nation, with its headquarters still rooted in the Midwest, in Wisconsin, where it remains a proud member of its own community.
It’s easy to see that the company has grown into a flourishing franchise through the vision and hard work of its founders, employees, and franchisees, but the true success of the company can be seen in the stories of the people who have been touched, one way or another, by their experience with Batteries Plus Bulbs.
Here are a few stories, some old and some new, that capture the essence of what this company means to its customers and the people who proudly work there:
A number of corporate employees have gone on to open stores as franchisees. Patrick LeBoeuf, franchise owner of multiple units in Florida, comments on his 25-year run with the company, “I started working for Batteries Plus when it started in Green Bay – day #1! In 1997, I left my position at the corporate offices and moved to Florida, where I teamed-up with my co-franchise owner, Craig Baumann, and since then, we’ve made a good career out of it.”
Moving up within the company, when the previous owner sold the store where he managed, Patrick Berry became partners with the new owner, Chris Potts, and they now own two stores in Kansas. He remarks that he was initially intrigued by “the uniqueness of the idea”, and he can “still remember watching VHS training videos with Al Kline and cross-referencing batteries in HUGE 3-ring binders.” Now, he still enjoys “how unique each day is for me and my staff. You never see the same thing twice, which provides the opportunity to learn something each and every day.”
For Laura Lewis, who owns two franchises in Idaho with her husband, she decided that, at 50 years old, she didn’t want to go work for someone else. When a franchise broker recommended Batteries Plus, she researched the opportunity, liked what she saw and signed up right away. Lewis describes her most cherished customer service story:
“I had a couple come in with a very old photo cube with an embedded recording. They were extremely concerned about getting the right battery since the recording was of their deceased daughter talking to their granddaughter and was, therefore, irreplaceable. There were 2 Maxell LR44s in the device. Although I had comparable batteries in stock, they asked me to special order that brand for them. As it turned out, the device needed 3 batteries, not 2. When we installed them and played the recording for them, there were tears in all of our eyes. It was one of our smallest sales, but the most important to me.”
Joe Cowern, franchise owner in Orange, CT since 2012, said that after spending 7 years in the U.S. Navy and moving back to his hometown, he jumped at the chance to join his dad in this endeavor. Already realizing how to fit-in with the local community, Cowern says his favorite part about being a franchise owner is, “Being able to help others on a day-to-day basis with their hard-to-find light bulbs or batteries, especially for kids’ toys, since seeing a smile on a child’s face when they see you’ve been able to get their favorite toy back up and running is priceless.” He continues by saying, “Most of our employees have been with us since day-one, and we look forward to someday celebrating our 25th Anniversary when Batteries Plus Bulbs celebrates it’s 50th!”
Sounds good. See you in 25 years, Joe.
Save money and your favorite device
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
Batteries Plus Bulbs is owned by Roark Capital Group, an Atlanta-based private equity firm. Roark invests primarily in consumer and business services companies, with a focus on the franchise, food and restaurant, specialty retail, environmental services, waste management, and business services sectors.
With the opening of the first all-battery retail store in 1988 in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Batteries Plus, as the brand was then known, quickly became the uncontested leader in the battery market, differentiated by superior product knowledge, product availability, helpful service and advice.