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CeX franchise owner's £1million success story

\"Establishing the business has been hard work, however I am prepared to work long hours now if it means I will be able to reap the rewards later.\"

Such has been the success of his Chatham store, CeX franchise owner Michael Dunk opened a second outlet in Southend-On-Sea in December, is planning the launch of a third in Basildon.

Michael is delighted at how smoothly his transition from being a business owner to becoming franchise owner of his two CeX outlets went and is well ahead of meeting his first year target of £1 million turnover.

"Establishing the business has been hard work, however I am prepared to work long hours now if it means I will be able to reap the rewards later," says Michael.

"Now that the Chatham store has been well established and been placed in the expert hands of Assistant Manager Aaron Cherry, I am concentrating on the Southend outlet before doing the same in Basildon when that opens. Once I have a small network of stores in operation, I plan to become the Area Manager and leave the day-to-day running of the stores to the individual CeX Managers. This in turn will give me more time to focus on marketing the business."

Prior to launching his Chatham CeX store in June 2009 and Southend six months later, Michael owned a coffee shop and IT college with his father Steve and his business partner Phil Marston.

"While we really enjoyed being the boss and having control over our lifestyles, the coffee shop was no longer profitable and the lease on the college building was up so we needed to re-think our business plans," says Michael.

"We decided to go down the franchising route because we liked the idea of having access to a proven business model as well as a wealth of experience and support. That way if we did run into any problems we would not be alone, like we were in our previous businesses."

"We heard that 'buy and sell' businesses were very profitable, and CeX stood head and shoulders above other buy and sell franchise opportunities. Our research showed us the benefits of investing in the franchise CeX - namely that its franchise owners experience ongoing success and all have turnovers of more than £1 million a year. This coupled with the thought of working with entertainment products excited me, so my father and Phil agreed it would be an ideal investment and were keen to become my silent business partners. We sold the coffee shop business and let the lease run out on the college so we could explore the CeX venture.

Established in 1992, CeX has more than 100 stores operating in its nationwide network and also has stores in the USA and Spain. The CeX concept is based on buying, selling and exchanging a variety of entertainment and electronic goods from video games, DVDs and mobile phones to computers and CDs. CeX franchise owners continue to trade profitably in the recession, because the fact customers are able to trade in old goods for newer versions or buy second-hand stock enables them to keep up-to-date with the latest releases without making a huge dent in their finances.

"In order to ensure CeX was the right investment, I volunteered to work in several corporate and franchised stores for three weeks to get a feel for the business before I became a franchise owner and I loved it," adds Michael.

"Once I had signed the agreement I had to attend a comprehensive 12-week training course run by head office in an existing franchised store, where I worked my way up from sales assistant to manager. From day one I have also had priceless support from my Regional Franchise Manager."

Reported by Fraser McKay