Jim Roark - Tampa, Florida
Change can be hard. Jim and Miriam Roark made the switch from owning and operating two appliance retail stores to running a service only business.
After 10 years in the retail business, they shut down the stores in May 2007 and now operate a thriving Mr. Appliance franchise. They’ve grown from two service professionals in 2004 to a team of seven today. They were named the Mr. Appliance Franchise Owner of the Year for 2006.
What did you do before joining Mr. Appliance?
We operated two retail stores for a major appliance manufacturer. It was difficult to manage the service aspect of the business. The companies were all under one name and it caused some problems with other manufacturers. We sold one brand, but performed service on many. There was a conflict of interest, and it was hurting our growth potential. We had to make a change. In 2004, we separated the two businesses. Doing this increased the potential for profitability. But the switch wasn’t easy. We lacked the business systems to make it work.
What initial challenges did you face when you formed the independent service company? How has being a Mr. Appliance franchise owner made life easier?
Stability and resources. The systems in place at Mr. Appliance really gives me the flexibility to run my business effectively. Instead of being overrun by every factor that came with running my independent business, I can now rely on the systems and support from the home office and other franchisees. This lets me focus on growing my business, not just keeping it afloat.
How was the transition to Mr. Appliance?
It’s always hard to make a big decision. The people from the franchise development department put us in touch with other franchise owners. We asked the obvious questions, but also got to know what makes this franchise system different.
Bob Tuck (Mr. Appliance franchise owner in Naples, Fla.) is a friend of ours, and was also exploring the possibility of starting a Mr. Appliance franchise at the same time. I was confident in his research as well, and after we met the staff in Waco we felt comfortable to make the switch. We were impressed with the support system, vendor relationships and the management and business experience of the staff at the corporate office.
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