Our first location was cozy and the landlord was very flexible and let us choose our terms. SBA, who provided our financing, did their best to mess with our plans but we needed them initially so we did what we had to do. We ran an ad and opened our doors September 1, 1998. We did make a sale that day :-D, sadly it was on credit card so I could not frame our "first dollar." Still, we were thrilled! When we took a vacation to Colorado for Christmas that year we left a clipboard and a couple tons of pellets out back and let people take fuel on the honor system. We worked really hard those first couple of years with Art working another job, me taking small computer jobs in between, running the store, doing trainings, installing, delivering and every other task in a day. We were exhausted but having the time of our lives.
We now have five full time employees, one part time, Art and myself. The industry is a roller coaster. It is not for the faint of heart. One year can see a 20% increase and the next 30% down. Cash flow is my main job now. Art's main role is managing the employees and vendors. We are a good team and both agree that we couldn't/wouldn't do it without each other!
It is a good technology and I think I will say that we have done more good than harm. We have done our best to provide a good and fun job for our guys with stability and perks. I think our guys are also proud of not only the products we sell but the work they do. Hoping for another ten successful years and possibly beyond!