Help from Franchisees

At February's Franchise UPDATE Multi-Unit Conference in Dallas, attendees dug into their pockets to help Rocco Fiorentino's Little Rock Foundation. Multi-unit operators are known for generosity to charities, but the record for amounts may well go to Batteries Plus.

Batteries Plus Multi-Unit Franchisee Leonard Cyphers, who owns three Atlanta-area Batteries Plus stores, was diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson's disease in 1997 at age 48. He is managing his disease with diet, medication, and exercise, and the help of a pioneer in Parkinson's research, Dr. Ray Watts.

At its 2005 convention, franchisees of Batteries Plus raised $60,000 in one sitting at an auction-style effort. The money will go to research by Watts, founder of the Movement Disorders Program at Emory University in Atlanta and Chairman of the Neurology Department of the University of Alabama , Birmingham.

"We consider our franchise system to be a family, and each franchisee a valued family member," said Russ Reynolds, Batteries Plus President & CEO. "We were extremely overwhelmed by the strong show of support at the silent auction for this cause. It illustrates the generosity of our corporate employees, franchisees, and vendors/suppliers. We will continue ongoing efforts to raise money toward the cause in the spirit of supporting Leonard and in hopes it will help someday to lead to a cure."

The money raised at the silent auction last month comes on the heels of a previous fundraising effort Batteries Plus held that raised $10,000 for the Parkinson's Disease research. In that campaign, Batteries Plus, its franchisee community and Douglas Battery Manufacturing Company, the fourth largest battery manufacturer in the United States, each donated 25 cents toward Watts' Parkinson's disease research for every discarded battery returned to any of Batteries Plus' 213 (at the time) locations nationwide.

Cyphers was diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson's two years after opening his first Batteries Plus store in 1995. Shortly after his diagnosis, he was referred to Dr. Watts, who is part of an international team of doctors making significant headway in discovering improved treatments - and a cure - for Parkinson's disease. As one of his patients, Cyphers has participated in Parkinson's disease treatment studies that provided him access to cutting-edge treatments.

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