Batteries Plus Hillsborough

On Dec. 21, Rich Levin and Edward Holmes (not pictured) opened Batteries Plus in Hillsborough. The pair are planning to open seven more locations in the state.

 

When Edward Holmes decided to sell his successful Cruizers Convenience stores, the North Carolina native who grew up in Pittsboro turned to his longtime business partner, Rich Levin, to help write the next chapter in their business career.

“When he (Holmes) sold the Cruizers stores, he had a noncompete so he can’t operate convenience stores in this market for a certain number of years,” said Levin. “He came to all of us executives that were working for him and said, ‘Come up with some other ideas of something we can do.’ Most of the other people in the company scattered and went to work for other people, but I thought ‘Well, let me see what I can come up with.’ I brought him different ideas.” 

Among Levin’s proposals were Sav-A-Lot grocery stores, KOA Campgrounds, and electric bike shops. Covid was creating opportunities for businesses that were geared more toward outdoor activities, so the campgrounds and e-bike shops had growth potential. 

But Holmes wasn’t convinced. “He kept saying ‘No, no, no, that’s not quite right,’” Levin said. “So, I stopped bringing him ideas and I started researching Batteries Plus on my own. What was supposed to be the very last day of my retention agreement with him, Holmes came into my to my office and I said, ‘Edward, I’m gonna clean out my office, and I’ll be out of your way tomorrow.’”

But Holmes had done a little research of his own on Batteries Plus, and decided it was the best business venture for him and Levin.

The two purchased franchise rights to eight locations, including the Hillsborough store that opened on Dec. 21 at 603 Hampton Pointe Blvd. The other seven locations are planned to open in Chapel Hill, Cary, Brier Creek, Fuquay Varina, Sanford, Clayton, Smithfield, and Rocky Mount. 

Batteries Plus Hillsborough hopes to provide residents services for automotive needs, such as free car battery testing and installations on most vehicles, and keep their cell phone, key fob, laptop, and tablet batteries lasting longer and more efficiently. Right now, the Hillsborough location has five full- and part-time employees. 

“Batteries are a big part of our business, everything from motor sports to exit signs and things like that,” Levin said. “But we also do a lot with lighting. We’ve got things like decorative lighting, commercial industrial lighting, bulbs for your car, to any kind of little bulb you might be looking for for just about anything you have in your house. Phone repair is a big part of our business. Watch batteries and key fobs are big parts of our business. We’re looking forward to batteries in everything in the future from, you know, electric vehicle batteries to whole home battery systems. That’s another reason we went with Batteries Plus: We feel like batteries are the future and are going to grow and grow and grow, and Batteries Plus has the R&D people who are keeping an eye on all the newer applications for batteries, and are going to keep us on the cutting edge of that.”

Levin said 30 percent of the company’s business will come from commercial clients, which is why it has a mobile unit to deliver products and services. He said the company has a process for helping to determine appropriate new locations for Batteries Plus stores, including the number of other businesses — like auto supply stores and cellphone repair shops — in a potential community.

“Hillsborough is a great community,” Levin said. “It’s actually between two other great Batteries Plus franchises. One in Burlington and one in Durham. And when you buy a franchise location, Batteries Plus gives you a five-mile Ring of protection. Those stores have their ring and there was an open territory here in Hillsborough. We were looking for great things, a great town, great people.”