Franchisee fulfilling expansion plans

With plans to establish as many CeX stores as he can, Stephen Boult is starting to fulfil his ambition with the opening of his second store. Derin Ibrahim interviews

Having successfully built up an initial franchise outlet many franchisees begin looking to expand their business further. With the opening of his second CeX store in August 2007 Stephen Boult is starting to fulfil his expansion ambitions.

Prior to launching his first CeX store Stephen was employed as a Business Manager for an electronics company, however when he found out about CeX he saw a perfect business opportunity. 'I'd been looking to start-up my own business and when my wife Julie joined CeX as a Finance Director we both thought the concept was a good one,' explains Stephen. 'It was not until I went into one of their shops that I became completely hooked and decided to go for it. I opened my first store in Hemel Hempstead October 2006, which went brilliantly. After about six to seven months I decided to look for a second store.'

To prepare him for running his own franchise, Stephen underwent a couple of months training: 'The training was excellent, I spent a couple of months working in other CeX stores to learn on the job how they work and how to run one. I cannot fault the training or support I've received from the franchisor. As long as you're prepared to put in the effort and hard work it's easy to fit in with CeX.'

Since the opening of his first franchise Stephen has received a great deal of support from Hugh Man, CeX's Franchising Director, who Stephen speaks to almost every week. 'When I decided I was ready to open my second store I had an indication of where I would like to locate it and I sat down with Hugh and we came up with four or five possible locations,' says Stephen. 'I went out looking at the locations with Hugh, who has been with CeX almost since the company was founded and has a lot of experience with this. We got a feel for the towns and looked at shops and the area. Although Hugh was on hand to help the choice was mine at the end of the day and I choose to open it in Luton because, being 30 minutes from my first store, I can easily get back and forth as well as having a market for what I sell.'

CeX currently has over 35 stores across the country, four of which are franchised. The shops buy and sell part-exchange quality used technology and entertainment goods at a competitive price and with a 12-month warranty. It was the products that CeX sells that initially appealed to Stephen. 'I love the gadgets and the fact that it is a very unique concept,' reveals Stephen. 'The gadgets are constantly being upgraded. Lots of different products are constantly being brought in so that when I'm at another store and return it's good to see what we have new in. I'm very fortunate to be in a business where I love the products we sell.'

With his franchise achieving great success and having an estimated turnover for this year of over £1 million, Stephen aims to expand his business further: 'I plan to open more shops. In a few months time if everything goes well with my second store I'm going to start looking into opening my third. I want to have as many stores as possible but without jeopardising my existing stores.'