Madison Man Sees Power In Batteries Plus Franchise

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Chad Langley will be opening a Batteries Plus Store in Dogwood Festival Shopping Center on Lakeland Drive in Flowood.

It was during a trip to Charleston, S.C., that Chad Langley realized how pivotal a role batteries play in life.

Capturing the sights of the Lowcountry wouldn't be as easy as Langley anticipated. Though he and his wife packed the camera, the camera's battery and charger got left behind in Mississippi.

So the Langleys ventured to a couple of stores in search of another battery, but had no luck. A sales associate suggested the Langleys try Batteries Plus, a national franchise that sells batteries, light bulbs and not much else. There, they found the battery they were looking for, and it lasted (uncharged) for the remainder of their trip.

Now some people might say a batteries-only business is an odd venture, but Langley saw only opportunity.

Think about it, he said. What don't we use that's not powered in some way by a battery? Cars, cellphones, laptops, watches, toys ... They all need batteries.

"It stuck out to me as a cool concept," Langley said. "I visited their website, filled out the information to own a franchise and it all came together from there." Monday marks the grand opening of metro Jackson's first Batteries Plus store at Lakeland Commons in Flowood. Langley and his father, John, a silent partner, also plan to open a second location in Madison County within the next 20 months.

At just 32, Langley has built quite a resume over the last decade. Reared in Madison, Langley attended Madison-Ridgeland Academy and the University of Southern Mississippi, where he earned his bachelor's degree in business administration.

Throughout high school and college, he worked at concession stands and restaurants, quickly working his way up to management at Back Yard Burgers franchises in Jackson and Madison.

He later spent 3 1/2 years in the mortgage industry, then four years in the steel industry as a plant manager for the Commercial Metals Co.

"Management comes kind of easy to me. I guess you can say I have an entrepreneurial spirit," Langley said.

"I have intentions to open a Batteries Plus in Hattiesburg or Meridian or both, and maybe one on the Coast. I plan on continuing." Batteries Plus, based in Hartland, Wis., has more than 520 locations in 46 states and boasts more than 40,000 types of batteries, light bulbs and accessories. Every store is equipped to design, assemble, rebuild and test custom battery packs.

Langley's store opens at a time when Batteries Plus reigns as the leader in the growing $30.7 billion U.S. battery replacement market as well as the $14 billion light bulb replacement market.

The metro area also has Battery World in Flowood and Interstate All Battery Center in Ridgeland.

Langley's father, John, 68, who resides just outside of Knoxville, Tenn., is confident in his son's new venture, so much so that he is a silent partner in the franchise.

John Langley said he'd never heard of Batteries Plus until he, like his son, was in need of a scarce replacement.

"It's a wonderful business and I was impressed by their organization, so I told my son I'd help him, but I'm retired. I've done my work," said John, a former executive for UPS.

"I hope it'll work out for him. It's scary this day and time the way the economy is, but you've got to try," John said.

Chad Langley hopes to build success on customer service, something he says is lost these days. Langley still remembers the customer service he received in Charleston, and wants to pass it along to his employees and customers.

"I would rather fix someone's battery that is fixable than have them spend $90, $100 for a new one," he said. "It shows honesty and you gain a lifelong customer in situations like that."

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