Having owned and operated one Batteries Plus Bulbs store in Springfield, MO for almost 16 years, Chris Hanner finally decided to open another one across town in March. Although he’s had thoughts of doing this for about a decade, it was just two years ago that he decided to pull the trigger. With his existing location operating successfully and efficiently, he transplanted some of his most trusted staff members to the new store, implemented his proven business model and effectively doubled his store count just like that.
Still, one might wonder if there’s room for two Batteries Plus Bulbs stores in Springfield, MO. Let’s take a look…
From the time he was 14, Hanner worked in a franchise system. Employed by his father, who owned four Subway restaurants in Iowa, he eventually took over the business when he was 20. However, upon being exposed to the long hours, frequent employee turnover, and overall turbulence in the fast-food industry, after a couple years, Hanner was ready to seek other franchise opportunities.
With the astute vision to recognize the long term demand for the numerous batteries needed to power the growing number of portable electronic devices in the marketplace, Hanner and his father looked into a couple of franchises in this industry, one being Batteries Plus. After researching these franchise models, it became clear to them that Batteries Plus had the best, most comprehensive system in place.
The franchise model was superior. Batteries Plus was efficiently rolling-out locations all over the country and brand awareness was growing. Along with their turn-key approach to opening new stores, their corporate support and training made us comfortable in pursuing this venture.”
Only 24 when their doors opened in Springfield, Hanner ran the store while his father was the investor. Eight years later, Hanner became the outright owner, buying-out his dad just like they had planned. Having foregone a college education to run the family business, Hanner took the time to painstakingly teach himself how to run a business. While learning on-the-fly, he made the appropriate adjustments and before he knew it, his store was posting better sales numbers in each year of operation, despite nationwide economic turmoil.
Hanner has bought into the company’s vision since day-1, and he has found success by doing so. With the constant addition of relevant products to its offering, Batteries Plus Bulbs continues to gain market share and differentiate itself from the competition. Hanner realizes that by leveraging the franchise’s numerous, easily-accessible corporate resources, he has a leg up on other battery businesses in the area.
By adding light bulbs to our stores and re-branding to highlight it, we have immediately set ourselves apart from the other battery-only stores. With local advertising, we have a presence here that these other businesses don’t have, either. With the tremendous product training and support that we get from our corporate offices, we’re the most knowledgeable experts in this environment, as well.”
The last piece of Hanner’s business model may in fact be the most significant feather in his cap – making sure customers have the best possible experience every time they walk through the door. This means that not only do they solve customer problems, but Hanner and his team aim to put a smile on their customers’ faces, genuinely engaging with them and creating an enjoyable experience for each and every one of them.
“One of our loyal customers admitted to going to a local competitor who was running a free watch battery installation promotion. He told me that his experience there was so bad, because the manager and staff were rude, that he will never go anywhere else again for his battery or light bulb needs. This is a reminder that getting something for free isn’t a substitution for quality customer service and a positive attitude. We run promotions, too, and they come and go. However, it’s our high level of service that remains a constant, and that’s what our customers can count on every single time they visit our stores.”
So, after 16 years of building his business, and cultivating a staff and culture that breeds quality and success, why would Chris Hanner decide to open a second Batteries Plus Bulbs location in Springfield, MO? With the franchise’s ability to differentiate itself from the competition, with a diversified product offering and an unmatched focus on providing solutions for its customers, Hanner might argue that there’s always room for another Batteries Plus Bulbs store, even if it’s just on the other side of town.
You know how to run a business but in terms of running this kind of business, it was all totally new to us. I guess I’m still an expert in training, but we’re learning a lot. We’re learning every day, and the process works. It’s very exciting. I love getting up in the morning and going to work, and I would say I’d do it again. Mike Brunhild
There are three parts to this business: you have retail, commercial, and technical. I looked at a lot of the businesses that were for sale and I realized that they were for sale for a reason. This franchise concept continues to change and grow. We have been in business for over ten years and I still enjoy coming to work every morning. Don Tollefson
Batteries Plus Bulbs is owned by Roark Capital Group, an Atlanta-based private equity firm. Roark’s current franchise portfolio includes companies such as: Carvel Ice Cream, Cinnabon, Schlotzsky’s, Moe’s Southwest Grill and more. All of our stores are equipped to design, assemble, rebuild, and test custom battery packs.
We continue to reign as the undisputed leader in the expanding $30.7 billion U.S. battery replacement market and in the rapidly growing U.S. light bulb replacement market estimated to be at $17 billion*. To learn more about our exciting franchise opportunities please visit www.batteriesplus.com/franchising. *Freedonia Research Study