Norton’s Car Stereo, a 5-store chain based in Florence, SC is making available Norton store franchises in the states of North and South Carolina and Georgia.
The car stereo chain has developed a business model that allows it to pay installers very high wages with retirement benefits and some health care subsidies. It will train installers at the new franchises and it will provide technical support.
Owner Jim Norton would not reveal installer salaries but said that one of his installers has been with the 40-year old chain for 31 years and another for 16 years.
“We have a 10 and 20 year plan to open more stores with a franchising opportunity. We want to be at 10 stores in 10 years,” he said.
Norton’s is unusual in that it carries only a few brands including Pioneer and then a new brand ZSTAT, which it sources. It sells a lot of ZSTAT and so its margins are high and it can afford to pay installers and salesmen well, it says. Plus by limiting its brands, it sales are more profitable.
The selling point to franchisees is that they get a high margin business model and technical support and installer training.
Norton’s has three installers per store and claims it doesn’t suffer from a technician shortage, as do most shops. “We take people who are mechanically inclined and train them to do 12 volt. We take guys who are analytical in their thought process,” said Norton.
He is currently working with three parties interested in a franchise, he said.
Current stores run about 3,000 square feet each. They are known for “reliable service” and “someone who can answer any question or address any problem” and also “price,” said Norton.
Most sales are a deck and four or a deck and four and a subwoofer.
Each location has at least two large bays and some have up to five.
Norton stresses that all the stores help each other with technical issues “We’re very much family oriented. Everyone contributes to the same goal. Everybody contributes to solving problems.”
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