For Ed and Joe Cowern, franchise owners in Orange, CT., the idea of opening a Batteries Plus Bulbs store in their hometown just made sense. An electrical engineer for 27 years, Ed retired in 1999, still interested in pursuing a future business endeavor. And upon returning home, after 7 years of service in the United States Navy, his son, Joe, was equally eager to start his own company.
A few years ago, after Ed found himself in a Batteries Plus store while vacationing in Florida, he became instantly intrigued and asked Joe if he would be interested in opening up a franchise with him in Orange. As of June 2012, their doors opened and today, they are already on target to hit their monthly and yearly sales goals. Not to mention, they both enjoy the freedom, independence and excitement of owning and operating their own business.
This father and son team complement each other very well. As Ed uses his sales experience to call on commercial customers outside of the store, Joe leverages his technical skills to convert in-store customers into long-term business accounts. By simply engaging with customers, and discussing they’re desired applications, Joe is able to offer a number of relevant solutions to them, some of which require custom battery rebuilds.
“I just had one the other day. A woman came in looking for an SLA (sealed lead acid) battery for her kid’s motorized toy. Turns out, the battery didn’t even exist anymore, so I had to build one for it. It worked. She actually had the little motorized Harley in the trunk of her car, and her son hopped on it and drove around. They were both ecstatic.”
These are the kinds of services that the Cowerns are happy to offer to their customers. Appreciating the variety that comes with finding a range of solutions for a range of issues, they take pleasure in assisting their friends, neighbors and local businesses with custom products to satisfy their power and lighting needs. The Cowerns’ store has become a trusted destination for its customers’ battery building and repair needs. Lately, Joe has also seen a trend of customers upgrading their light bulbs, as well.
“Since expanding the product line to include bulbs and changing our name, we have seen the number of people looking for CFLs and LEDs steadily climb, with a recent surge due to adding the Duracell ProCell LED product to our store. It’s a great, cost-effective, energy-saving solution for people to take advantage of. Our associates are excited to educate customers on the technologies associated with these new lighting products.”
Ultimately, Joe enjoys owning a neighborhood shop in his hometown, where he gets to meet new people with new power and lighting issues to solve, while also bumping into some old, familiar faces, who are happy to see him when they come in.
“I see a lot of friends from school, who stop by the store and we recognize each other and catch-up. It’s a great way for me to keep in touch with these people that I’ve grown up with, as well as providing them with a local business where I can assist them with some of these essential, everyday needs.”
Around the holidays, Joe takes the greatest satisfaction in helping parents find those hard-to-find batteries for their children’s toys that they can’t find anywhere else.
“You can see it on their faces. This is the last place they ended up stopping, when it should’ve been their first. They’ve looked everywhere for these batteries and no one else had them. It’s great to be able to help them out and put their minds at ease.”
After all, who needs any more stress around the holidays, right?
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.