Father-son duo Ron and Chad Olson opened the first Device Pitstop store in Ridgedale Square, a shopping center across the street from the Ridgedale Center in Minnetonka. Ridgedale Square is where the Olsons have tested or refined their other brands, such as New Uses, NTY Clothing Exchange and NTY Kids.
Device Pitstop sells used, overstocked and refurbished laptops from $70 to $1,500. You can also find tablets and smartphones for sale. All devices have gone through a 21-point inspection and come with a 90-day warranty and theft check. The stores also repair devices.
“We are trying to extend the life of products,” said Mike Smith, vice president of Device Pitstop. “It’s a green philosophy and it’s also a niche in the market.”
Three franchise stores had grand openings last week in Maple Grove, Maplewood and Burnsville. The company has sold rights to three more stores in Edina, Eden Prairie and Woodbury.
Seven Device Pitstop locations are already open outside of Minnesota.
“Device Pitstop could easily reach 200 to 300 stores in five to seven years,” said Chad Olson, the company’s chief operations officer.
You may scoff at those figures because franchise companies often like to make bold predictions. But the Olsons have an accomplished track record in the resale business.
Ron Olson founded the company now known as Winmark Corp., which built the Play it Again Sports brand to 800 stores and is behind Plato’s Closet and Music Go Round, among others. Chad worked alongside his father.
Both left Winmark years ago but found success in other concepts. Their Clothes Mentor has reached 122 stores and sold rights for another 53. NTY Franchise Co. has 205 total stores nationwide, nearly all of them franchised.
Chad Olson took a deep breath when asked what’s next for the resale empire.
“We’ve got to slow down,” he said. “We’ve got our hands full right now.”