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Wire-Free America

Not only wire-free--these franchisees became boss-free within their own industry.

Though sick of the corporate mold, many executives still love their industry. After laboring in the retail department of Bell Atlantic for five years, Bill Bolton, 41, and Mike Sabbatini, 30, faced this dilemma. "I enjoyed working for Bell Atlantic Mobile," says Sabbatini, "but wanted to pursue a venture on my own."

Their answer? Wireless Zone, a franchise that sells and activates mobile phones. Since their former employer is the sole provider for the local Wireless Zones, that franchise was a natural vehicle for the partners' independence.

Bolton and Sabbatini opened their first store in April 1999 in Feasterville, Pennsylvania, spending only $20,000. After this success, they opened a second store in Trenton, New Jersey, this February, and plan to open another in November. Currently, they activate 350 phones a month.

While this venture led to more money-not to mention their coveted freedom-Bolton and Sabbatini didn't have to sacrifice connections with either their previous employer or industry. Just call it an entrepreneurial plunge into charted waters.

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This article was originally published in the August 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Wire-Free America.

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