SCORE Mentor Advices Johnstone Supply
Randa Alexander and Tony Kurtz decided it was time to go into business. The two partners purchased an existing parts supply store for appliance, heating and air conditioning equipment. They opened for business on April Fool’s day, but they were not foolish.
The once $300,000 per-year gross-sales business is now profitable, with growing annual sales volume soon to approach $1 million. Before buying their business, Randa and Tony had investigated their market and knew their community could support this store.
Within a short period of time they relocated their store to a larger and more modern location. In addition, they joined a national cooperative and changed their company name to Johnstone Supply—a national identity and direct marketing campaign designed by the cooperative. These strategic actions helped them increase sales and gain market share.
Johnstone Supply in Bettendorf, IA, is a success—it is profitable two years after Randa and Tony took over the business. Johnstone Supply employs eight people and generates $750,000 in annual revenue. This business is strategically located in the Quad Cities area along the Mississippi River bordering Iowa and Illinois. Johnstone Supply draws customers from the extended Quad Cities area.
Randa and Tony split their duties within the company based upon their areas of expertise. Tony handles the inventory ordering, inventory control and service. He has 12 years experience in the commercial heating and cooling industry. Randy coordinates administration, financial tracking and proposals for commercial bids. Both owners have participated in the Johnstone training classes, which have built their knowledge of how to best utilize the cooperative for their local marketing, management and customer service.
According to Randa, SCORE Mentor Ben Schneider provided valuable insight about how to prepare a business plan and think strategically. "Ben worked with me on developing the business plan. His insights and experience in retail sales provided the realistic feedback I needed to be sure that once my partner and I purchased the business we would be a success." Ben met with Randa on 40 different occasions throughout the business-planning and business-improvement process. Ben is a volunteer with the Quad Cities SCORE Chapter.
Randa and Tony decided they needed help with their business so they reached out to the Quad Cities SCORE Chapter.