Family is the center of my life. It’s part of who I am. It’s part of my culture and how I was raised.Jose Perez
Being of Latino heritage, Cuban-born franchise owner, Jose Perez, proudly embraces the role of his family in his life and business. Further evidence of this can be seen in the prominent roles that his two sons, Miguel and Tony, have played since going into business with him years ago; both are now equity partners in the Perez Group’s highly successful business.
Back in 1994, having recently graduated from college, and searching for “what to do with the rest of his life”, Miguel was approached by Jose and asked if he wanted to join him in in his new venture with Batteries Plus. After all, Jose was about to open his first of three Batteries Plus stores in 1995, and the timing was ideal for Miguel to go to work for his dad. Recognizing this opportunity for a bright future, Miguel knew that with hard work, and the right attitude, he might help build a business that could support the family, and be one that he could be proud of. Meanwhile, Tony graduated from Florida State in 1996, and was presented with the same opportunity. Likewise, he recognized the potential of being a part of the family business, and quickly agreed to join Jose and Miguel. Almost twenty years later, the results have been perhaps better than they envisioned at the time.
Jose is quick to mention that none of this would have ever been possible without the support of his “girlfriend” of 44 years, Regina, who, through her work outside of Batteries Plus, provided the economic support (and emotional cheerleading) necessary to maintain them through the lean years of growing the business.
Candidly, Jose also admits that the idea of including his sons in his business wasn’t necessarily a lifelong goal of his, but at the time it just seemed natural, since he knew he wanted his kids and grandkids around him as much as possible. Now, they all enjoy working hard together, while still having a lot of fun outside of work, as well. Between going to their grandkids’ soccer, softball and baseball games, as well as their numerous recitals, along with having huge, monthly family-get-togethers, and tailgating at Oregon Ducks’ sporting events, Jose and Regina keep very busy – happily involved in the lives of their family.
But Miguel and Tony aren’t the only family members involved in the business. Jose’s daughter, Lara Jarman, and son in-law, Abe Smith, are both employed in the Commercial Sales division of the Perez Group, playing significant roles in the ongoing success of the company. Furthermore, Jose is eager to point out that many of his employees, such as Bob Karnes, Director of Administrative services, and Arlen Schleif, VP of Store Operations, have been with him for over 10 years, and they, too, are an extension of his family.
“I hire for the long-term. It’s important to me to build my business with people I like and care about, and in the end, they remain loyal and we develop a deep respect for each other.” With an unsurpassed sales record, the employment of 55 people, having never closed a store, and having just opened his tenth store in January, it’s hard to argue with Jose’s proven methods.
Perhaps the most virtuous attribute that Jose impresses upon his 5 children, 12 grandchildren, and 55 employees, is the idea of being empathetic of all people. He says, “Having a sense of empathy is a very good way to communicate with people. Whether with a customer, your wife, or someone on the street, once you’re able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, then you’re able to understand where they’re coming from.”
Jose acknowledges that he also inspires a competitive spirit in those around him, and he attributes this to being involved in athletics throughout his life. He clearly recognizes this in Miguel and Tony, too. “So far, it has served us well, but it’s important to keep things in perspective. It comes from competing in sports, and not wanting to lose. We promote always striving to do your best,” comments Jose.
With Father’s Day coming up this weekend, I asked Jose how he would celebrate it, almost predicting the answer he would give me: “We’ll probably all get together at someone’s house, with all the kids and grandkids; eat, hang-out, and celebrate with family. We do that about once a month. It’s what we like to do.” Can’t say that I blame them.
Happy Father’s Day to Jose, and all of the other Batteries Plus fathers out there, and all fathers everywhere!
FRANCHISEE FOCUS will be a monthly contribution to our Batteries Plus blog.
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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.