Cathy Ferrazzo, franchisee of Device Pitstop in Maplewood, MN, shares her four biggest tech tips in this clip featured on WCCO-4.
Cathy Ferrazzo, franchisee of Device Pitstop in Maplewood, MN, shares her four biggest tech tips in this clip featured on WCCO-4.
Check out an excerpt from a startribune.com article below, which explains the growing used-electronics retail market and features Device Pitstop as an up-and-coming franchise serving this market in the Twin Cities and beyond.
By John Ewoldt
Amanda LaGrange dumped the title “Tech Dump.”
When the CEO of the nonprofit Tech Dump, a St. Paul-based collector and recycler of used, obsolete and damaged electronics, decided to open a new retail store to sell them, she figured “Tech Discounts” would be more enticing.
“We’d been selling refurbs for years in a corner of our Golden Valley warehouse, but when we decided to get serious about it, we rebranded,” she said.
Getting serious means that the new Tech Discounts store in Bloomington operates strictly as a store. The two locations in Golden Valley and St. Paul will continue to use the Tech Dump name for collection, recycling, repairing and refurbishing. The Bloomington location and the store within the Golden Valley facility are called Tech Discounts.
By recycling and reselling used electronics for 50 to 75 percent less than new, the company has kept more than 75 million pounds of electronics out of the waste stream. Fifteen percent of that amount is refurbished.
Tech Dump is one of more than 270 electronics recyclers in Minnesota, but it is in rare company selling used electronics.
Device Pitstop, a for-profit franchised business owned by the same company that franchises Clothes Mentor, debuted last year in the Twin Cities. It now has locations in Burnsville, Eden Prairie, Maple Grove, Maplewood and Minnetonka with plans to expand in Woodbury and Edina next year.
“Our store revenue is up 20 percent over 2015,” said Michael D. Smith, vice president of operations. “There’s always been resistance buying used electronics so people need assurance the product will work.”
Device Pitstop offers a 30-day warranty and just instituted an optional recurring warranty for $3.99 to $9.99 a month. Tech Discounts will repair or replace any item that fails within six months. Customers can get a refund for any reason within 30 days.
Giving consumers confidence to buy used, LaGrange hopes Tech Discounts can expand its Twin Cities presence to five locations. Another reason that used electronics retail stores are popping up is the collapse in commodity prices for metals, plastics and aluminum.
Besides selling used electronics at the Bloomington and Golden Valley locations, Tech Discounts will also do repairs and accept electronics donations.
It is a Microsoft registered repair shop that uses R2 certification for data destruction and compliant with the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Department of Defense.
General Manager Brian Bernhardt expects laptops and any Apple product to be best sellers. In a sampling of used products this week, the store had a 55-inch Samsung plasma TV for $599, a 13-inch MacBook Pro with 8GB memory, retina display and last year’s operating system for $999, a Dell desktop tower with Windows 7 Pro for $219 and an iPhone 6 Plus for $349.
Tech Dump and Tech Discounts operate under the umbrella of the Jobs Foundation, a nonprofit started in 2010 to employ adults with barriers to employment. Last year the foundation, which is 98 percent self-funded, employed 68 adults who had been incarcerated or treated for chemical dependency. […]
The latest Device Pitstop is opening its doors in Eden Prairie, MN, this week. Check out an article featuring the new store in a local newspaper below. Or read it online at swnewsmedia.com.
Device Pitstop, a national chain that buys, sells, trades, services and upgrades computers and mobile devices at low cost, recently opened in Eden Prairie, according to a news release.
The store is hosting a grand opening on May 5 at its location at 8252 Commonwealth Drive. The activities include $25 gift card giveaways and drawings for tablets, computers and other items. The business is owned by Chanhassen resident Jeff Kiffin.
“Device Pitstop carries a wealth of laptops, desktops, tablets, smartphones and accessories including Windows, Apple, Mac, iPhone and Android devices and parts. They sell certified products well below original prices, backed by 30-day and extended warranties,” according to a news release.
“They buy customer equipment for cash or trade in. They also provide expert on-site repairs and upgrades. Whatever the need, Device Pitstop has a complementary product or service.”
For more information call 952-446-7168 or visit devicepitstop.com/edenprairie.
This article, originally published on huffingtonpost.com, mentions NTY Franchise as a growing company in the booming resale industry. Read on to learn why franchising a resale store is such an appealing option for entrepreneurs:
By Yatin Khulbe
It goes without saying that finding the right balance between a successful retail strategy and an approach that sets yourself apart can be a big challenge.
After all, an increasing number of new businesses fail each year while attempting to break into the seemingly impenetrable arena of modern retail.
The wall of the booming big box and major brand monoliths isn’t entirely impenetrable, however. Surprisingly, a number of upcoming retail contenders and franchises have taken an unorthodox approach to the resale market in recent years.
They prefer to focus on cultivating an upscale atmosphere and level of service usually reserved for their conventional and big brand counterparts.
So how did “resale retail” go from a budget niche to a booming new brand of resellers with increasing interest and profit margins?
Here are some of the points which encouraged resellers in coming up with smart and unconventional strategies in recent years:
Flexible Points of Entry
The unique nature of upscale resellers as an up-and-coming industry often mean that aspiring entrepreneurs looking to break into store management or ownership can enjoy more substantive options to finance a small business.
The availability of franchise opportunities among national resale parent companies has skyrocketed recently.
Resale is a multi-billion dollar a year industry because it attracts the consumers from all economic levels.
Why are buyers are excited about resale deals?
The answer is simple.
Everyone wants to save money on consumer goods and utilize it for vacations, child education, retirement funds, and various family activities.
Breaking into franchise management can traditionally serve as a safer starting point for those getting their start in ownership across a variety of industries.
Companies looking to expand the influence of their existing resale branding have substantially increased the availability of options for management newcomers in recent years.
What does it mean?
A minor nest egg can be invested with a greater range of strategies for those looking to make the most out of their existing experience in retail and business.
Unfortunately, the majority of small businesses generally won’t expect to yield profit margins in the first months (or even years) of operation.
If a budding retail entrepreneur doesn’t find this initial period of low profits viable or attractive, a partnership with an existing upscale resale franchise can often provide valuable options for getting the ball rolling.
Consistent Consumer Experience
Traditional resellers have often relied on lower than standard profit margins and nonprofit dichotomies focus on providing a service to the local community.
On the other hand, upscale resale stores concentrate on consumer experience by understanding the needs and desires of their buyers.
Modernized resellers provide no restraint shopping experience to the customers. It allows for more competitive price points while still retaining the attractive benefits of a resale outlet experience. Resale businesses with a focus on this above-par shopping experience include growing resellers such as NTY (New To You).
Why modern resellers overpower traditional counterparts?
It’s win-win for both the parties.
Consumers lock down lower prices while still enjoying the experience and atmosphere that come with new goods retailer.
The benefit doesn’t extend solely to customers.
The smooth shift towards an upscale customer experience means that owners and franchisees can expect to enjoy an operative experience and keep up with the steadily rising revenue of retail frontrunners as well.
Strong Support Systems
Breaking into uncharted territory doesn’t mean that resale franchises are going alone. In fact, a vast majority of resale stores rely on the framework of support networks that allow them to fall back on training opportunities, marketing materials, and more.
The main question arises:
Why are they helping each other?
A range of prospective overhead costs is saved which require a lion’s share of time and money.
As a result, this support mechanism allows room for innovation.
Lower Overall Risk When Taking the Leap
The idea of kicking off small businesses looks very attractive, but it often leads to lower than anticipated profits. The standard new retail venture without well-timed market research means failing within the first year or even less timeframe.
On the more optimistic flip side, from the very beginning, resale retailers break into the market with the convenient advantages.
For example, reliance on inventory that stems from donated clothing, furniture, or even the computer hardware take away the pain of investing in new stocks.
Without investing deeply in product purchases on the front end, the same investment can be allocated for primary concerns such as property and operation overheads.
NTY Franchise supports veterans with several opportunities and incentives for franchising its resale stores. Read the Franchising USA article about this topic below, or click here to see the article on franchisingusamagazine.com.
NTY, standing for ‘New To You’ is a company that owns the franchising rights to five brands in the resale retail industry: Clothes Mentor, Children’s Orchard, Device Pit Stop, New Uses and NTY Clothing Exchange.
“Our main goal is to sell franchises and then support the franchisees that we sell them to,” NTY’s chief operating officer Chad Olson said during a recent interview from the company’s headquarters in Minneapolis.
Clothes Mentor, which buys and sells used women’s fashion and accessories, started franchising in 2007. Currently, it has 140 stores open and 43 stores sold and awaiting opening.
Acquired by NTY in early 2014, Children’s Orchard buys and sells gently used kids items. It currently has 27 stores open with two sold and awaiting opening.
Device Pit Stop, meanwhile, has 11 stores open with another 10 sold and awaiting opening. NTY acquired the brand’s franchise rights in the fall of 2013. It buys and sells used electronics.
Buying and selling used home goods like furniture, artwork and small appliances is the business model for New Uses. The brand has 11 stores open with one sold and awaiting opening and it’s been around since 2011.
And with two stores open and four sold and awaiting opening, NTY Clothing Exchange, which buys and sells clothes in the teen and young adult market, started franchising in Mid-2014.
In a world that is increasingly looking for environmentally friendly ways to deal with everything, all of NTY’s brands offer that coveted green alternative for people’s old clothing and other items, Olson said, giving people the option of getting cash for the stuff they’re no longer using rather than just throwing it away.
And with consumers often being highly cost conscious, NTY also gives them a way to save money, with products selling for, on average, 70 percent less than they would be sold as new.
All of the NTY brands make sure the items people bring them have resale value. It has to be in good condition and, in the case of apparel, it also has to be in style. Each brand will evaluate a product and they all have a pricing matrix they use to make sure they’re selling items at a price that gives value to the customer and also the business.
Clothes Mentor was founded in Columbus, OH. with a store in that city and another one in Canton, OH. Olson and his father, Ron Olson, decided to go into business together, both having Resale/Retail franchising experience with another company.
When they began looking at what opportunities were out there for their own business, they found out about Clothes Mentor and noted the two stores were doing quite well. From there, the father and son negotiated the franchising rights to that brand and have been adding to the NTY family since.
While their franchisees come from all walks of life — from teachers to former professional bull riders — they all have one thing in common and that’s the one thing NTY wants in a franchisee.
“We want people who have that entrepreneurial spirit,” Olson said.
They must have motivation and they must also have accumulated some wealth in the past that they’re able to invest.
While the company has just a handful of veteran franchisees at the moment, Olson is looking to change that, as he knows veterans have a stellar reputation as franchisees.
Veterans’ dedication and commitment to carrying out the processes they’ve been taught is what makes them good franchisees, he noted.
“That’s what franchising is all about, taking the business model and the processes that we have proven to be profitable and teaching it to others,” Olson said. “People who have had that military experience following processes fit really well into a franchise system because they will take those processes that we have developed to run and execute a successful business model and follow those processes to a tee.”
NTY has just submitted its application to join veteran franchising organization VetFran. Currently, veterans receive a $2,500 discount off any NTY franchising fee.
As an added incentive — and this goes for any franchisee — three of NTY’s brands also offer a $40,000 jump start program.
Any franchisee that opens an NTY Clothing Exchange, a Children’s Orchard or a New Uses will receive a $20,000 marketing contribution from NTY when their store opens. In addition to that, every six months after their grand opening, they will receive an additional $5,000 marketing contribution from the parent company over a two-year period, totaling a $40,000 contribution toward marketing from NTY.
NTY helps franchisees find the right real estate, helps them procure financing, and brings them to Minneapolis for three weeks of comprehensive training in every aspect of running their business.
The company also offers support on site when franchisees are building out their store and getting it ready to open to ensure it’s being built out properly, they’re acquiring inventory properly and their employees are being trained properly. Then they’ll let the franchisee start running their store and come back out to help franchisees with their grand opening. NTY representatives will visit again 90 days after grand opening, a minimum of three times in that first year to check on inventory, customer service and if franchisees need any additional training.
Each brand has its own regional operations managers, which are assigned to franchisees. Each regional manager has about 20 or 30 franchisees in their region and their main goal is to be a small business consultant. They have monthly consultation calls with franchisees and answer any questions they have and visit franchisees at least once per year.
All of NTY’s brands are open to expanding anywhere in the United States. The collective experience of everyone who is involved with NTY is a huge incentive for any frachisee to choose one of the company’s brands for opening a business, Olson said. Each brand has a vice president in charge of it, he explained, and all of those vice presidents have over 20 years of experience in the retail resale sector. His father, who is president of the company, has 30-plus years of experience in the sector and when you add in Olson’s 22 years of experience, that’s a lot of knowledge for new franchisees to draw from.
For veterans who are looking to make a new start in life, NTY gives them an opportunity to make that new start a success.