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How Batteries Plus Recharged During the Recession

Candidates considering the Batteries Plus opportunity saw existing owners opening more stores, which is about the best validation for a franchise concept, and that helped us gain new franchisees. Our net worth and liquidity requirements are high enough that most of the candidates we worked with were able to access funding or were able to self-finance, and with the results and growth they were seeing from existing franchisees were willing to do so.

The other thing is there were franchisees that looked at programs -- such as 401(k) rollovers -- to access to their own capital.

Where are you now and where would you like to be going forward?

Reynolds: We're a quasi-national retailer where our brand is approaching being recognized nationally. Tomorrow we will be a national retailer with some scale. Our goal is to get to a point where people are looking for us to come to their neighborhood.

We want to establish critical mass to the brand. We want to grow in new and different ways. We continue to focus on building an appropriate support infrastructure. We tell our franchisees we want to support what we sell and so our success is built around their success.

Can you name a company that you would like Batteries Plus to emulate?

Reynolds: As a retailer we always look at how much we sell per square foot. Right now Vitamin Shoppe (VSI) is the best guy around as a benchmark.

I think that as we look at a brand that's gotten critical mass and scale in franchising that continues to find ways to reinvent itself there is McDonalds (MCD). I think it's so cool what they've done with the beverage segment and how they position that.

-- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.

To contact Laurie Kulikowski, send an email to: Laurie.Kulikowski@thestreet.com.

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