Whether caused by global warming or just cyclical weather patterns, there’s no debating that the hurricanes that have rocked the Gulf and East coasts of the United States, over the past ten years, have resulted in mass destruction. In fact, since 2004, there have been 10 major hurricanes, with a Category 3 or higher intensity, that have reached landfall in the U.S., causing billions of dollars of property damage, significant bodily injury and countless hours of agony and frustration. While it’s true that we cannot prevent all of these losses, with the proper storm preparation, we can hope to minimize the level of damage associated with these brutal forces of nature.
Suffice it to say, the needs-based products sold at Batteries Plus Bulbs stores are never needed more than during a major storm or hurricane. Virginia-based owner Bob Allan knows this firsthand, as he has operated multiple Batteries Plus (Bulbs) stores for 13 years, keeping them open through at least four major storms that have pummeled his region during that time. For Allan, preparation is the key to making the best out of these trying situations.
“About this time of year (August through September), I spend a lot of time paying attention to the weather. If a storm pattern develops off the coast of Africa, there’s a chance it could pick up steam as it makes its way across the Atlantic, heading our way. As soon as it looks like we’re going to get hit with a storm, I place an order to make sure we get enough product in our stores in time to support the ensuing customer demand.”
As the storm gets closer, Bob, his employees, and even his family understand that it’s “all hands on deck” time. This means they all chip-in, work extra hours and make sure they support their customers in their time of need. With a huge influx of consumers hitting the big-box stores first, causing them to sell out of products, Allan finds that customers usually come to him when they can’t find what they’re looking for anywhere else, relieved to have finally found that extra flashlight, pack of D batteries, generator battery, or car-charger for their cell phone; all things essential for an extended power outage. Although customers can be pretty frantic by this point, and understandably so, Allan is often excited to take on the challenge and make sure his patrons get exactly what they’re looking for.
“Along with my wife, Lelia and kids, Victoria, Andrew, and MaryGrace, we usually end up driving around to the different store locations, taking product where it’s needed to accommodate our customers. Sometimes, I even have to sort of ration supplies, to make sure everyone has a chance to get the items they need before the storm. People are usually understanding when I point out to them what they need and what’s excessive; it’s important that all our customers have the opportunity to stock-up on these products.”
Allan goes on to explain that he’s often able to get his orders fulfilled more quickly than his big-box competitors. Which means, as the storm bears down, and supplies get scarce, he’s still able to get more products if need-be, whereas most other local stores cannot. Furthermore, as most of his business is for residential consumers prior to a storm hitting, afterwards, it’s commercial customers that come clamoring for his products. After all, once back-up power supplies end up carrying the load for two or three days during an extended outage, their batteries eventually go dead and it’s time for new ones, in order to keep mission critical data and security systems operating without a hitch. Selling sealed lead acid (SLA) battery replacements for uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) systems becomes an important part of Allan’s business as the area recovers from the storm.
For those customers who segue the aftermath of a storm into preparation for the next one, it becomes vital to install the appropriate systems for back-up power supply prior to a future outage occurring. For example, Allan has recently sold and installed a robust APC UPS system for a local medical clinic, where extremely valuable vaccines are stored in refrigerated facilities. If an outage would occur, causing the refrigeration to fail, millions of dollars and countless hours of medical research could be lost in a matter of hours. Not to mention, the health of patients in need of this medicine could become seriously at-risk.
Although the prospect of a major storm looming ahead can cause great anxiety for many Americans along the coasts during the peak of Hurricane Season, for Bob Allan and his family, it’s a challenge they welcome and thrive to overcome. Operating his business in the most harrowing times brings out the best in Allan and his employees. And even though having a severe storm ravage their area is never good, they’ve proven that they’re capable of making the best of it, helping supply their region with essential items to weather the storm.
“It ends up being a memorable experience for myself, my employees and my family. We all learn what it means to band together and get things done. For my kids, it’s a way of learning about priorities. No matter what they previously had planned, if a hurricane is coming, helping out at the stores becomes more important. They understand that working for the family business, especially in these times, is what they need to do. In the end, it’s exhilarating to work together like this, and afterwards, we can look back and be proud of what we accomplished.”
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
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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.