Darren Fortner has experienced both ends of the spectrum in the business world from owning a Wireless Zone independently to evolving into a successful franchisee.
For the past 20 years, Fortner has watched the brand grow into a successful franchise system with plans to expand in the upcoming year. While he was in college, Fortner started his career at his family’s Wireless Zone location as a Sales Associate. Little did he know he was preparing for his future career. After working in the corporate industry for a few years, Fortner took the offer to come on board with his stepfather and mother at their Wireless Zone location.
NLA: Tell us a little bit about your background.
DF: I graduated Ball State University and thought I wanted to have a career in education. I changed my mind in the eleventh-hour and got involved with my families’ business, Wireless Zone, throughout college and obtained my bachelor’s degree in history. We had just started the business while I was in college and I worked in the business for about a year. After college, I went on and gained professional experience at Dana Corporation working as a logistics manager.
Over the years I knew I wanted to eventually start my own business and I was having dinner with my stepfather and mom, who asked my wife and I to purchase the business. We both agreed it would be a good avenue to take and that was that.
NLA: Why did you choose to become a franchisee with Wireless Zone? How did you learn about the brand?
DF: At that point, we felt the road of going independent made strategic sense. We felt franchising was where the future was. Wireless Zone made the most since because I didn’t have to sell the business.
NLA: Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?
DF: I took a lot of time to research the industry and did a lot of research on my own to see what opportunities were out there for us.
NLA: What were your perceptions of franchising before starting the process?
DF: I think I had a positive view on franchising, I wasn’t starting from scratch and I knew the business. Now it was time to expand which every business owner wants to see.
NLA: What’s next for you and your business? Do you have any development/expansion plans with the brand?
DF: We are awaiting a few changes to take place in the franchise system and definitely looking to expand in 2016.
NLA: Is there anything else that might be interesting about you, your business, or any of your team members?
DF: People always find us unique. We have a low turnover it’s because we have a solid culture and employees can make a good income and set up for their future.
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