When Dave Bogart came across a Wireless Zone for sale near his home in Hornell, NY back in 2001, he admits to not having an idea of what cell phones would become. Quite frankly, he didn’t even own a cell phone. But, with a strengthening itch to be his own boss, in 2002, he decided to purchase the local Verizon Wireless franchise.
“When I bought my first Wireless Zone store, cell phones were a luxury,” said Bogart. “At the time, I honestly had no idea just how important they would become. I was just so excited about the opportunity that was in front of me.”
Before investing in his first Wireless Zone, Bogart graduated from the University of Buffalo with a degree in engineering and had gone on to work as an office manager for a start-up, quickly working his way up in the company. And after acquiring years of sales experience throughout his career, once he began to seriously consider a business of his own, it was only natural that Wireless Zone’s business model was a perfect fit.
Only a year after buying his first location, Bogart expanded and opened his second store nearly two hours away in Lockport. By 2006, Bogart owned and operated five Wireless Zone stores across northwestern New York in Olean, Springville and East Aurora.
“We expanded really quickly,” said Bogart. “But it was tough to keep up with the long distances between the locations. I eventually had to make a choice.”
In 2007, Bogart sold his Hornell and Olean locations. That’s when things really took off.
“Once I was able to narrow it down to three stores, all within an hour of one another, that’s when things began to really fall into place,” said Bogart. “I could move people from store to store. I could travel to each store if I had to. It really put me in a spot where I could give attention to each location and see a lot of success.”
In March of 2018, nearly sixteen years after opening that first store, Bogart was recognized as Franchisee of the Year at the company's annual conference. Out of a nationwide system of more than 345 locations, he was honored for his outstanding sales performance, longstanding dedication to the brand and his community, and consistent above-the-line work ethic.
Still, Bogart attributes much of his success to those he has surrounded himself with over the years.
“I came into a franchise system surrounded by other owners I could always look to for advice on what works and what doesn’t,” said Bogart. “And I really have been able to surround myself with a great core of employees. It makes a world of difference.”
Reflecting back, Bogart also acknowledges the challenges and realities of owning one’s own business.
“It wasn’t easy. When I bought the first store, I was still working. Essentially, I was working during the day at my job, then going home in the evening and working on my business,” said Bogart. “Even when I left my job and began working with Wireless Zone full-time, I was working seven days a week. When I wasn’t at the store, I was at home working on the accounting side of things. It was a grind.”
According to Wireless Zone Executive Vice President Dave Staszewski, Dave’s recent recognition of Franchisee of the Year comes after years of exceptional customer service and loyalty.
“At Wireless Zone, we pride ourselves on making a real difference in the lives of our customers and in the communities we serve,” said Staszewski. “Dave has long proved to be an exemplary franchisee who embraces those values.”
For years, each of Dave’s three locations have participated in the brand’s annual partnership with the Culture of Good School Rocks Backpack Giveaway, an initiative to help alleviate the rising costs of school supplies by inviting local families and their children to pick up a backpack filled with supplies. This year, Dave’s locations combined will be giving away nearly 950 backpacks.
“Thinking back on those long nights just starting off... it’s humbling,” said Bogart. “My life is so much better now than it was before. It’s really a great feeling to be at this point - where I’m financially secure, but also where I can really focus on the culture of my stores and make sure that we’re doing good for the community. This is what it’s all about.