When Mark Loberg walked out on a six-figure income and a 20-year career in one of the nation’s top auto dealerships in 1999, he had no idea of what he was going to do next. He knew only that he wanted to work for himself.
“I was very frustrated working for other people,” Loberg, 45, said. “It was time for a change.”
It didn’t take Loberg very long to find his niche. He signed on with a company that was looking for distributors for a high-quality floor coating for residential garages, charging the initial supply of materials to his credit card and adding ready-to-assemble cabinets to his stock. Six months after leaving the dealership, Loberg launched PremierGarage.
“The offering was unique in that no one else was selling both components—the coating and cabinets—as a package,” he explained. “Also, it was geared to more affluent customers.”
From a one-person startup, Premier-Garage has evolved in just under nine years into the largest provider of garage enhancement in North America, with 86 franchisees in 38 states and three Canadian provinces. It has 122,000-sq.-ft. of manufacturing and distribution space and offers a menu of options, from innovative floor-coating systems to integrated cabinetry and organizers to complete makeovers.
Founder and CEO PremierGarage PhoenixAnnual sales: $53 million (est. 2007)Type of business: Manufacturer and marketer of garage enhancementsAreas of operation: Nationwide and Canada
“The garage is really the ‘last frontier’ of the home improvement industry in that homeowners are still discovering that there are many things they can do with that big space,” Loberg said. “We help them organize their garage and turn a completely dysfunctional space into one that is functional, clean and useful.”
For the most part, PremierGarage does not operate stores or display rooms. The company encourages its franchisees to form alliances with local home builders, in effect, creating a showroom in model-home garages.
“We also do a lot of direct mailings to customers with higher-scale home values,” Loberg said. “And we get a lot of traffic from sponsored searches on the Internet.”
As to his success, Loberg said there is no big mystery.
“We offer a quality product, take care of the customer right the first time, deliver what is promised and show up on time,” Loberg said. “Whether you are selling socks, cars or garages, it all comes down to taking care of your customers.”
CompUSA may get a new look
ADDISON, Tx. After opening a new format store last month, CompUSA may be changing the format of its other stores, depending on customer demand and product interest.
According to reports, the elements found in the prototype store, located in Texas, will be incorporated into other CompUSA locations across the United States.
The nearly 7,700 square-ft. relocation site includes an Apple shop featuring Mac computers, iPods and Apple accessories, and a full-length LCD TV wall.
Additional expansions include extended gaming, which includes an entire wall devoted to the Nintendo Wii, PlayStation3 and Xbox 360 gaming platforms, plus a PC gaming setup to test equipment and play new titles.
While businesses can get their share of support with a specialized services section, all consumers can visit the store’s redesigned IT support area.
“This new store aligns CompUSA’s vision to better serve its three core customers, the technology enthusiast, educated professional and small and medium businesses,” said Gabriela Villalobos, the retailer’s sales and operations evp.
CompUSA announced in April that it would narrow its focus to three core customer groups rather than try to serve a mass audience.
The move was part of a comprehensive restructuring, initiated last February, that included an overhaul of senior management and the closure of half its store base as the privately held chain looked to improve sales and profitability.
Walgreens withdraws from CVS provider plans
DEERFIELD, Ill. After many months of talks over low and below-market payment rates by CVS Caremark for four prescription plans, Walgreens has withdrawn as a pharmacy provider from the plans.
Patients affected include members of prescription benefit plans managed by CVS Caremark for ArcelorMittal, Johnson Controls, Progressive Casualty Insurance and Wisconsin Education Association Trust.
Most of the affected members live in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin.
Trent Taylor, president of Walgreens Health Services, the managed care division of Walgreens, released the following statement:
“This is not where we wanted negotiations to lead,” he said. “We’re sorry that our pharmacy patients and CVS Caremark’s clients are caught in the middle, and we’ll do all we can to ensure a smooth transition for our patients to another pharmacy. Meanwhile, we’ll continue to work on resolving this issue with CVS Caremark.
“Leaving a benefits plan is an extraordinary step for us, but it demonstrates how extraordinarily low our payments were from CVS Caremark. We can’t continue accepting reimbursement rates that are drastically below market, while offering patients needed special services such as 24-hour pharmacy access and drive-thru pharmacies.”