By remaining nimble in a changing retail climate, Batteries Plus Bulbs continues to find more opportunities to bring its in-demand products and services to its customers. In addition to catering to the $32 billion battery and $22 billion bulb industries in the U.S., Batteries Plus Bulbs offers programmable key fobs and phone and other device repair services, helping the brand to a banner year for development in 2018. With its breadth of offerings serving as the primary driver for its growth, Batteries Plus Bulbs has identified several key growth targets in 2019, with one such area being the state of Maryland.
The brand’s existing presence in Northern Virginia and throughout Washington, D.C. makes the neighboring state an ideal area for concentric expansion due to strong brand awareness, favorable demographics and brand equity in those markets. Maryland offers a nice combination of population centers up and down the Baltimore/Washington corridor, full of suburban areas capable of accommodating single-store and multi-unit agreements alike.
“The economy in Maryland is stable and strong, supported in part by its proximity to the nation’s capital,” said Batteries Plus Bulbs VP of Franchise Development John Twist. “The state’s robust median household income is one of the highest in the nation, which, coupled with the prevalence of port cities throughout the state, serve as favorable attributes for Batteries Plus Bulbs.”
Mike Schall, a Navy veteran and Batteries Plus Bulbs franchisee in Laurel, Maryland, recognized these same economic drivers during his search for franchise opportunities to bring to the area. Schall said he chose to buy into the brand because it allowed him to diversify his portfolio beyond the federal contracting market, yet still work in a technical capacity. Schall’s location is set to open in March 2019.
“Batteries Plus Bulbs identified a few local markets near where I live where they thought there would be a good chance of success,” Schall said, adding that he drafted a business plan to assess his market’s viability. “In a nutshell, Laurel had a good mix of residential and single-family homes and a high density of condos and apartments. There was a good deal of retail and commercial customers, and a little bit of an industrial presence. With [the brand’s] products being batteries, light bulbs, device repair, key fobs—it was a good market.”
While acknowledging that his first year of business will provide the clearest assessment of the brand’s ability to succeed in his market, Schall said he envisions opening two to three stores in the general vicinity of Laurel in the future. Air Force veteran Dr. Sherman Malone, another Batteries Plus Bulbs franchisee in Maryland, had the same optimism about the Annapolis market where he will open his store in June 2019.
“Annapolis is the state capital and has one of the highest median incomes in the Washington, D.C. area,” Malone said. “It’s located on the Eastern Shore, an area inundated with marinas that require considerable use of battery-based products, and The United States Naval Academy is also there, making it a perfect place for a veteran-owned business.”
In all, Twist said the Maryland market has the capacity for 12 more Batteries Plus Bulbs locations throughout the state. Now with a presence in Upper Marlboro, Columbia, Rockville, Timonium, Reisterstown and soon, Laurel and Annapolis, the brand is well on its way to fulfilling that potential. Batteries Plus Bulbs has identified several other areas in the state suitable for development in the form of both standalone, “own the market” opportunities as well as those capable of holding multiple units.
As far as standalone opportunities are concerned, the Maryland cities of Hagerstown, Frederick, Bel Air, Ellicott and Catonsville are target markets, as well as additional Eastern Shore cities like Salisbury, home to ample commercial and industrial activity that Twist and team feel suits the brand very well. Plus, the Baltimore metro area is ripe with the opportunity for growth thanks to its demographic breakdown.
“In Baltimore, there’s a roadway that circumnavigates the city: Interstate 695,” Twist said. “The suburbs surrounding the beltway fit our brand perfectly. The Baltimore suburbs of White Marsh, Parkville, Glen Burnie. Suburbia that’s all connected, part of the Baltimore metro, can hold six stores alone.”
To continue growing its national footprint, Batteries Plus Bulbs is seeking viable franchise candidates throughout the state of Maryland. The investment range for a Batteries Plus Bulbs franchise is $190,150 to $367,350, including a $37,500 single-store franchise fee.
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