The name of the company may only specify it sells batteries and
light bulbs, but CEO Russ Reynolds is continually looking for
ways to grow Batteries Plus Bulbs. “We look at ways to innovate
and where we have permission to play,” Reynolds said, explaining
that last year the Hartland-based company added battery
replacement and repairs for smartphones and tablets to its list
of services and products.
Going forward, Batteries Plus Bulbs is exploring adding
key-cutting services and headphone replacement components.
Some Batteries Plus Bulbs locations are already doing a test run
of the key-cutting service. Reynolds said often Batteries Plus
Bulbs retail stores are located in markets where the only option
for car key replacement is the dealership, but that tends to be
expensive and not very quick. He felt there was a strong value
proposition built around filling an immediate need for consumers
regarding replacing batteries in key fobs, which the company has
already been doing, or cutting a new key.
Also, Reynolds said he observed that with his own
teenagers, buying replacement parts for their headphones
can be quite expensive. Reynolds said people are not
buying headphones for $30 as often, and are opting for
the products around $200 to $500 that are wireless. He
said with many components that can break or even be
chewed on by the family dog, there was an opportunity
for Batteries Plus Bulbs to offer replacement parts and
speakers at a fraction of the cost.
Reynolds’ first job: Working in
Target’s lawn and garden center
At Batteries Plus Bulbs, customers can get their
problems resolved quickly, versus working with an online
company like Amazon, Reynolds said.
Just this week, Batteries Plus
Bulbs launched an updated website that is better
connected to the 275 franchise owner groups, but also
respects their territories.
“We are thrilled that it’s out and it has the bells and
whistles that you’d expect,” Reynolds said.
In 2014, Batteries Plus Bulbs opened 42 new store
locations nationwide and had a systemwide sales increase
of 8.6 percent — including a 74 percent increase in
overall light bulb sales. In total, Batteries Plus Bulbs
has more than 650 locations in the U.S. and Puerto Rico,
and during the past five years, Batteries Plus Bulbs has
had a 12 percent growth rate and 97 percent franchise
By the end of 2015, Reynolds said, the company hopes to
open 40 more stores. Also, he said the intent is always
to maintain double-digit growth, but that has gotten
tougher. For 2015, Batteries Plus Bulbs is shooting for
a growth rate of 8 to 10 percent for a total of $525
million in system sales.
Reynolds credits Batteries Plus Bulbs’ significant
growth to its connection with two large and stable
“I think it’s a combination of a few factors,” Reynolds
said. “We have been fortunate to have strong industry
At the end of June, Batteries Plus Bulbs was named one
of the best franchises to buy in the United States.
Forbes ranked the company No. 8 in its mid-range
investment category, where franchise investments range
from $150,001 to $500,000.
While Reynolds said that recognition is appreciated,
it’s the recognition the company has received for its
“Ownership with Honor” program that offers qualified
U.S. military veterans a franchise opportunity and more
than $210,000 in financial support that Reynolds is most
“That is a cause for us; we think that former military
personnel make great employees,” Reynolds said.
The summer that Russ Reynolds had his first job working for
Target’s lawn and garden center, he went through many company -
provided shirts — and learned he didn’t want to work in the
center again when he was 16.
Reynolds, Batteries Plus Bulbs CEO, said he got his first job at
age 15 at the first Target store, T1, in Minnesota. There he was
the guy who moved the bags of peat moss and manure around and
restacked them. Working in the lawn and garden center was the
only position open to 15-year-olds, he said.
After working there that summer, he said he learned he didn’t
want to repeat the experience the following summer, but he liked
working for Target. He stayed with the company through high
school and college for a total of 10 years.
During that summer, Reynolds said, he also learned that when you
get a chance to join a great organization there will be
opportunities to travel and move within the company.
Finally, he learned he enjoyed assisted sales retailing and
engaging with the customers.
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