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The Wireless Way

Capitalizing on a trend so big you can't really call it a trend

At 23, John Phillips didn't know what he wanted to do with his life. And, with two jobs taking up the bulk of his time, it didn't seem like he would ever be able to figure it out. On the manic evenings he spent selling electronics for Sears and the backbreaking pre-dawn hours he spent loading UPS trucks, he never imagined he was about to get an offer he couldn't refuse. Phillips was only a year away from being promoted to a UPS driver when a friend, Ken Goich, asked him to manage all three of the @Wireless locations he was planning to open.

"I knew I had to make a decision," says Phillips. "I was either going to drive a truck my whole life, or take a chance with something else."

After managing the wireless phone/satellite TV/high-tech toy stores for a few years, Phillips was able to purchase two of Goich's @Wireless locations, using UPS stock he had as collateral to secure business loans. Now 28, Phillips projects his @Wireless franchises will pull down a combined $160,000 in 2002.

"Right now, the bulk of our business comes from cellular phones and plan upgrades," says Phillips, who benefits from the franchise's partnerships with wireless giants such as AT&T, Cingular, MCI, Sprint and Verizon. @Wireless is poised to capitalize on emerging demand as well-its stores already stock high-tech products such as high-speed Internet solutions and wireless GPS navigation systems. When other markets for wireless products enter hypergrowth, Phillips and @Wireless will be ready to take on the rush.

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This article was originally published in the June 2002 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: The Wireless Way.

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