August 16, 2011 // Franchising.com // (Merrillville, Indiana) In late May, DirectBuy celebrated its 40th Anniversary with a weekend of awards, recognition, education and fun at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in Washington DC. Helping commemorate the occasion were some of DirectBuy's top franchisees, including Don Daley from Albany, NY; Naushad Mehta from Suffolk County, NY; Kary Tratner from Toronto, ON; and Stephen Levin from Palm Beach, FL.
Daley, who started working at DirectBuy as a sales rep in the 70's, and worked his way up to club ownership, shared his experience with the more than 1700 DirectBuy employees and manufacturer partners in attendance.
"My belief and my passion in DirectBuy over my 37 years with the company have enabled me to earn a very good living – I can't imagine doing anything else," Daley shared.
Mehta, who joined DirectBuy as a member in 1990 with her husband Rob Bengston, recounted how Rob knew he wanted to own a DirectBuy franchise from the moment he learned about the company's unique concept. Mehta wasn't as easily convinced.
"For Rob, DirectBuy was love at first sight," Mehta said. "The idea of buying at cost struck him as brilliant. Not me – I was happy being a reporter at Time Magazine. And I was terrified to mortgage my home to start a business. But love conquers fear, and 12 months later we opened our franchise. While it hasn't always been easy, our journey with DirectBuy has been amazing. Our lives have been transformed as we and our staff have helped family after family live better lives."
As the company reflected on its 40 year history, conference attendees heard from Tratner, who helped blaze the trail into Canada for the company in the 90's.
"DirectBuy offered something my husband and I hadn't found yet in a business opportunity: a win-win scenario for everyone involved – franchisor, franchisee, staff, suppliers and, most importantly, our members," said Tratner. "We opened the doors to our club in June of 1997, and became the 4th Canadian location. My brother was our first member, and is still a member today in Seattle."
As the celebration came to a close, Stephen Levin, who opened his club along with wife Jenny in 2007, shared how he and his wife were introduced to the DirectBuy concept in much the same way as the majority of their franchisee counterparts: as members.
"I first learned of DirectBuy when a friend told me about a way to buy directly from the manufacturer," said Levin. "I thought, 'yeah, right!' Jenny and I attended an Open House, joined, and left, captivated by the undeniable value offered by DirectBuy, and imagined all the ways the club could enrich our lives. Through the years, we've helped an incredible number of families out of retail, recorded tremendous merchandise volume, and been lauded with top service honors. Most of all, we've been able to watch our staff grow and excel - watching as some climbed on a plane for the first time in their lives, while others we've mentored as they worked their way to owning a DirectBuy franchise of their own."
Consumers interested in joining DirectBuy are encouraged to attend an exclusive Open House event, which is designed to educate families about DirectBuy's business model and the benefits of buying direct. The Open House also helps consumers better understand how DirectBuy members avoid traditional retail markup when purchasing brand-name merchandise.
Since 1971, DirectBuy has been showing hundreds of thousands of consumers unparalleled ways to save as they shop for virtually everything for in and around their homes – from furnishings, home improvement and flooring, to entertainment and outdoor products, accessories, and much, much more. With more than 130 locations in North America, DirectBuy offers its members access to more than 700 brand-name manufacturers or their authorized suppliers in the United States, and more than 500 in Canada.