Mariner Sets Sail With 1-800 Radiator Franchise

Friday, March 27, 2009

Thomas Wick has spent much of the last eight years supporting the U.S. Navy in the Persian Gulf, and he believes the experience has prepared him well to operate a business.

Wick and his business partner, Michael Middleton, have started a 1- 800 Radiator franchise at 85 Corporate Park Drive in Hastings. The local franchise, which opened Feb. 23, serves areas including Syracuse, Auburn, Watertown, and Utica.

Franchises of Benicia, Calif.-based 1-800 Radiator deliver radiators to auto shops and individual car owners.

Before becoming a franchisee, Wick was a communications officer for the U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command, serving six deployments on vessels in the Persian Gulf since 2001.

The Military Sealift Command delivers supplies to naval operations in locations around the globe, according to the organization's Web site.

"Doing that job at that intense level at that quick pace really, really has prepared me for basically anything in my life," says Wick, who had previously served in the U.S. Navy after graduating from Cicero High School in 1983.

After returning from a deployment last June, Wick started looking for business opportunities in the area. In early July, while searching the Internet, he discovered 1-800 Radiator and wanted to pursue a franchise.

The company flew Wick and Middleton to California for their initial meeting in September 2008. Later, the pair spent a week in December taking a franchise-training course, learning about the radiator industry and the company's inventory-management software.

"Everything is a database. Everything is a Web-based program that you log in to," Wick adds, noting it allows him to see the inventories of other company warehouses throughout the region and country.

He co-owns the franchise with Middleton, a long-time friend who is also owner and president of DeWald Roofing Co. Inc. in Hastings. The roofing business operates at the same location.

Wick is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the franchise, while Middleton handles bookkeeping and oversees the company's finances. Each owns an equal share in the franchise, according to Wick.

DeWald Roofing Co. owns the 3,200- square-foot building at 85 Corporate Park Drive in Hastings, and 1-800 Radiator leases about half the space from DeWald.

The 1-800 Radiator franchise will start paying rent in six months. Wick declined to disclose the anticipated rent amount.

So far, Wick employs one person at the business but is hoping to hire a driver within a month, he said. Wick is hoping to generate between $500,000 and $600,000 in revenue during the company's first year in business.

Wick and Middleton used private financing to pay the $50,000 franchise fee. A loan of $120,000, they obtained through the assistance of Operation Oswego County, helped pay for the initial inventory of radiators and condensers.

Since opening more than a month ago, Wick has contacted close to 400 commercial propects about his service, but he declined to name any of them.

Besides Hastings, 1-800 Radiator has franchises serving the Buffalo, Rochester, and Albany regions. The company maintains more than 330 warehouses in major U.S. cities, with a national inventory of more than 80,000 parts, according to a news release from Operation Oswego County.

Franchisees of 1-800 Radiator are required to have a net worth of $250,000 and cash liquidity of $150,000, according to a franchise business listing on www.entrepreneur.com, the Web site of Entrepreneur magazine.

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1-800-Radiator Franchise Inc
4401 Park Road
Benicia, CA

Phone: (707) 747 7400 Ext. 5000
Toll Free: (866) 780-9392
Fax: (707) 747 7401

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