By Carlee Frank
Battles are not just waged on battle fields. Nowadays –in the 21st century –they are also waged via TV commercials. A well-known industry battle –complete with turncoats and competitive pricing –is between Sprint and Verizon Wireless. However, Dave Bogart, franchisee of three Wireless Zones, Authorized Verizon Retailer, in the Buffalo region, has settled the issue.
“I think everyone knows that Verizon has the best overall coverage,” Bogart said. “When you’re in the middle of Amherst, all of the carries will cover you; but when you’re out in Springville or even East Aurora, clearly Verizon will have the best coverage.”
Bogart became a Wireless Zone franchisee of a Hornell, New York store in 2002. Previously, he had been a software developer with a company called Datumtech for 10 years. However, soon after becoming the general manager of the company, he developed a love for business management. He spent a few years looking for the right business to take over, but found none that made sense until Wireless Zone.
“No one seemed to want the Hornell location because it was ‘too far,’” Bogart said. “But I thought, well, if you’re going to own a business you can’t complain about it being inconvenient or too much work.”
A year after running the Hornell store, he opened a location in Lockport, followed by stores in Olean, Springville and East Aurora. While the businesses ran smoothly, he eventually sold the Hornell store and closed Wireless Zone in Olean in order to focus more intently on the remainder of his locations.
“At first, I looked at it as a dollar and cents business. But I learned –not as quickly as I wish I had –that it’s actually a people business. It’s not about saving costs and making money –it’s about your customers,” Bogart said.
Since then, his business practice has radically changed and has even been recognized nationally. Bogart has won the Franchisee of the Year for all Wireless Zone stores in the nation. He was awarded at the Verizon convention and was also gifted a cruise around Mexico and Central America. He said it was wonderful to be acknowledged for all of the hard work and dedication to his customers and to the community.
Bogart said 90 percent of his business is not retail, but service. Many customers come in everyday with questions about devices, troubleshooting issues, bill payment inquiries and issues with phones. He said he and his employees work with each customer to make sure they leave informed and happy. Furthermore, the consultative services they offer to Verizon customers is free of charge.
However, they do sell many products at all three Wireless Zones, such as cell phones, plans, screen covers, iPads, Apple watches and even some unheard products such as the Gizmo –a child’s smartwatch with parental controls and a tracking device.
He said he is excited for all of the new technology entering the market. Some he is unable to divulge, but he did mention the imminent arrival of 5G.
“5G is coming and someone in the industry said going from 4G to 5G is going to be like going from black and white TV to color TV. It’s going to change everything,” Bogart said.
While he enjoys the technology he encounters as a Wireless Zone franchisee, he also loves to donate time and effort to charities. He supports the Food Bank, Doctors without Borders and the Matthew Foster Foundation.
Wireless Zone’s sister company, The Cellular Connection, also has a Backpack Giveaway during their Day of Caring which Bogart took part in for the first time last year. He gave out $9,000 worth of backpacks in his stores, and this year, he plans to give out even more.
“For some people it’s a lifesaver. There were some people with tears in their eyes saying, ‘I needed this so bad and I didn’t know how I was going to afford these for my kids,’” Bogart said.
If you are a Verizon customer or would like to be, stop by any of his locations for excellent customer service. They are open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, visit their Facebook page.