The first battery-specialty store in New York State, Batteries Plus, opened its doors on Sept. 13 in DeWitt. Two weeks after opening the franchise, which sells batteries of all types, owner Tom Ruhlman is optimistic on his business prospects.
"Periods during the day are slow at times," Ruhlman said. "It's really a matter of getting the word out there. Rather than people having to go to four or five different places, they can come here for their battery needs and 98 percent of the time, we can help."
Upon entering the store, customers will see a service desk and a tech center on the left-hand side with while batteries and accessories line the aisles and walls to the right.
"In the two weeks we've been open, a lot of our sales have been batteries for cordless and cell phones," Ruhlman said. "There's been a fair share of work in our tech center where we have the ability to repair old battery packs."
Ruhlman has experience in the commercial battery business. He started investigating the franchise at the beginning of 2005 and committed to it in early spring. Throughout the rest of the year, he renovated his store space at 3530 Erie Blvd.
When asked "Why batteries?" Ruhlman said that he was attracted to the fact that Batteries Plus also offers a commercial side as opposed to just retail.
"I can serve commercial customers in the store or at their business, depending on the situation," Ruhlman replied. "So far three commercial customers have approached us to provide and service their batteries: the town of DeWitt, Armstrong Mold Corporation and Syracuse University."
Laurie Butler, Armstrong's purchasing agent, lauded the new store.
"They have very good prices and we plan on giving them more of our business," Butler said. "There is always a need for good batteries and the expertise that goes along with a battery specialty shop is just tremendous. We use to have to shop around and search the Internet to get the best deal. Additionally, we like the opportunity to promote local businesses."