Alta Mere Franchisee of the Year: Randy Durham
Many people know the meaning of the phrase “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” When something is broke, however, it is important to recognize when a change needs to be made and the best way to go about it.
Randy Durham knows how to make these necessary decisions to improve his store’s bottom line. That is part of the reason he was named Alta Mere’s Franchisee of the Year for the third straight year and fourth time overall.
“I’m very proud to have won this award, especially three years in a row,” said Durham. “I’m very humbled. There are some very good Alta Mere shops and franchise owners out there. I really appreciate my peers who voted for me, and I’m very honored to have won this award.”
A little backstory. Durham has owned an Alta Mere store in Plano, Texas since 2003. Before that, he was an engineer at two companies, Corning and Halliburton. He previously cited some of the reasons for his success with Alta Mere has come from helping his fellow franchise owners and learning from them, along with hiring and retaining good employees. He has also talked about being very actively involved in the day-to-day operations of the business, putting in the hours and sweat equity to make it successful.
What he is doing right. Although Randy has a successful system in place, he isn’t afraid of experimenting, and being proactive to increase the overall productivity of the store.
For instance, Durham said that for several years his store sold installations of alarm systems and remote starters. “Over the years the market changed and more and more cars were coming with these products installed at the factory,” said Durham.
Last year, Durham came to realize that this path was changing rapidly, and he needed to adjust his strategy. With window film and paint protection film being his biggest sellers, Durham changed his 12-volt strategy to include products like backup cameras and detectors, dashboard cameras and doing auto upgrades, like adding amplifiers and subwoofers. These 12-volt installations have proven to supplement his primary products of window film and paint protection film.
It was a decision that has been extremely successful and resulted in a healthy increase in sales this year. It has been a win-win for both the store and the customer.
“The customers are not left to fend for themselves we guide them in the right direction as it relates to their 12-volt purchases that are right for their vehicles. In some cases, customers will buy 12-volt products online and call us for expert installation. When that happens, we will accommodate that need,” said Durham.
Adapting with the times. “I’ve learned I needed to modify my offerings to our customers and stay current with their demands. I need to stay aware of what the market trends are and what the latest products coming out are and be prepared for what the future may bring,” said Durham.
But in order to have that mindset, you need to be willing to tinker and tweak your business model.
“You really have to be able to adapt,” said Durham, a message that all entrepreneurs would do well to remember. “Ten years ago, everyone wanted a CD player in their car. Now, not many cars have CD players. Thirty years ago, everyone wanted a cassette or 8-track player. You can’t just keep selling the same products each year, especially with the advances in technology. As customers’ needs and desires change and the technology changes, business owners need to adapt to stay relevant. Being part of a franchise system helps us to do that. Franchisees sharing their experiences and franchisor support help us stay on our game.”