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With five CeX stores successfully under his belt and with plans to expand his business further, franchise owner Zuber Patel has proven to be quite the retail entrepreneur.
Before joining the second-hand entertainment franchise, Zuber worked in his family’s newsagents business for 10 years, but after the lease on the Leeds-based store expired, he decided to pursue a new challenge within the retail sector.
“I was already aware of CeX as there was a store just around the corner from my newsagents,” explains Zuber. “Some retail concepts have an expiry date but, with gadgets constantly evolving, it’s the kind of business that will always be in demand.
“The CeX business model is amazingly self-sufficient as it doesn’t have to rely on new stock. People always want the latest products and if they can trade-in their old stuff, then it is a win-win situation for them and us.”
Zuber met CeX Franchise Director Hugh Man at the Wakefield-based CeX store to gain a true insight into the daily operations of the business. Impressed by Hugh’s passion for the brand and the structured systems in place, Zuber quickly decided that CeX was the franchise for him.
“Before launching my Huddersfield store, I received initial training and spent about four months working in various CeX stores to gain valuable hands-on experience,” says Zuber. “Until you’re in the thick of it, you have no idea what is realistically expected of you as a franchise owner, so it’s a great way to find out if the business is for you or not.”
Clearly a natural when it comes to retail, Zuber has gone on to successfully launch stores in Dewsbury, Barnsley, Scarborough and Bridlington.
To ensure the smooth operation of his expanding network, Zuber recruited an Area Manager, Loss Prevention Manager, Secretary and numerous Store Managers to take on the bulk of his responsibilities, leaving him free to concentrate on the future of his business.
Due to the excellent support of his managers, Zuber has been able to take a step back from the day-to-day running of his stores and enjoy the benefits of being his own boss.
“Family is very important to me so one of the biggest benefits of being my own boss is being able to take weekends off work so I can spend quality time with my wife and three children,” he beams.
“The fact I can spend so much valuable time with my family is testament to how great all of my staff are – in particular my Area Manager Daniel Clifft. I would not have the time and definitely would not be as successful if it was not for their efforts.
“The financial rewards are also very good,” continues Zuber. “I have been on numerous exotic holidays with my family and plan to see more of the world.”
While focusing on the expansion of his retail empire is priority, Zuber still visits his stores on a weekly basis to ensure that his staff are happy and working well, while also embracing his favourite aspect of being a CeX franchise owner.
“My favourite part is experiencing the vibe of my stores,” says Zuber. “Seeing my customers walk out with a smile on their face is the most satisfying thing for me. If you can make your customers happy then you’re pretty much a success in retail.”
For some, five stores would be more than enough to handle but Zuber has no intention of slowing down his business expansion with ambitious plans for the next few years.
“I’m hoping to have another two or three stores open by the end of 2013,” reveals Zuber. “Before expanding further I need to make sure all operations and systems are running smoothly within my existing stores – I wouldn’t want to do anything that could affect the standard of my businesses or wonderful family life.”
Written by Tiffany Brooking