Times May Have Changed … But Batteries Still Required

From Boom Box to BlackBerry, Batteries Plus Celebrates 20 Years, Offers `Retro' Franchise Fee

March 18, 2008 // Franchising.com // Hartland, WI - Would the riot in the 1980's movie Do the Right Thing ever have happened if, instead of a boom box blasting on his shoulder, Radio Raheem had an iPod plugged into his ears? While times, and electro-gadgets, may have changed, one constant remains: batteries still required.

Batteries Plus, the nation's largest retail battery chain serving consumer and commercial customers, has been keeping up with the "batteries required" demand since opening its first store in 1988. Defying skeptics who claimed a batteries-only concept would never survive in the marketplace, last year the packaged-power giant dominated the $24 billion U.S. battery segment by opening a record number of locations.

Today, with more than 315 stores nationwide, Batteries Plus offers thousands of batteries, as well as a Tech Centers equipped to design, assemble, rebuild, and test custom battery packs. Stores also supply Fortune 500 companies, manufacturers, other retail channels, local municipalities, fire and police departments, the armed forces, and school districts. Product lines include batteries for both the common and hard-to-find items traditionally not available at other retail stores.

Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2008, Batteries Plus has set lofty development goals for the franchise system this year. To mark the milestone, the chain is "going back" to the 1980s with a $20,000 reduced franchise fee in certain markets – one thousand dollar savings for every year the chain has been in business.

"Technology is on a speed course of evolution and batteries are flying right along for support," said Russ Reynolds, CEO of Batteries Plus. "As we enter our 20th year in business, we're more motivated than ever to attract franchise partners who want to join us for the ride."

In addition to a banner year for franchise growth, 2007 marked a significant milestone for Batteries Plus with a solid financial partnership. During the fourth quarter, Batteries Plus announced that it had been acquired by Roark Capital Group, an Atlanta-based private equity firm that owns 13 franchise brands that collectively have more than 13,000 points of distribution, 4,000 locations, 2,000 franchisees, and $2.9 billion in system-wide revenues in 50 U.S. states and 33 countries.

While steady franchise growth and thriving sales were key factors in Roark's decision to purchase Batteries Plus, the equity partner also considered healthy market demand for batteries and battery-related services. The company considered industry statistics citing that the average American has at least two items within reach that require a battery at all times, and has at least 21 battery operated devices in their home. From cell phones to watches to camcorders to iPods to laptops to cars, Americans are on the move and want to be well-connected at all times.

Last year, Batteries Plus signed a licensing agreement with Spectrum Brands, the parent company of Rayovac, a $2.5 billion global consumer products company and one of the largest battery, shaving and grooming, and lighting companies in the world. Through the alliance, Rayovac has licensed 16 different battery product categories to Batteries Plus, including laptop computers, cellular phones, digital cameras, camcorders, cordless tools, cordless phones, PDAs, MP3 players, and scanners, among others.

"At age 20, we've got plenty of market potential," Reynolds said. "All indications are that battery consumption will continue to rise for many years to come, and last I checked, we're the only chain out there with the systems, equity partners and power needed to keep up with demand."

ABOUT BATTERIES PLUS

Batteries Plus is the nation's largest retail chain of its kind, offering a comprehensive selection of batteries, battery-related products and technical support that meet growing battery demands for consumer and commercial customers. Currently, Batteries Plus has more than 315 open locations in 41 states and Puerto Rico and additional stores in development. For more information, please visit www.batteriesplus.com

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