As Printed in the June/July 2012 Issue of The Northeast Texan
A couple of local businesses from Wills Point and Kaufman are taking every advantage of the current economic climate, utilizing the means at their disposal to grow. Bass Productions and Electronics of Wills Point and Independent Herbalife Distributor, Jeane Anthony of Kaufman, are two examples of northeast Texans determined to make things work, despite the recession.
Though Doug and Melinda Bass experienced a decline in sales after the 2008 Christmas season, they found new ways to expand their services. Melinda explained, “As a small business in Wills Point, we have continually come up with new ways to make money, even before the changes in the economy. Electronic stores have a very large curve to keep up with; and it isn’t always easy with the competition of the ‘big box’ stores.” As a result, several services and products have been added to the store such as, Direct TV, Exede High Speed Satellite Internet, XM Satellite Radio, small and large appliances, personal electronics, amateur radio club, piano lessons and art lessons, to name just a few.
“The biggest and best change we have made,” Melinda said, “is changing from a franchise entity to an independent retailer as Bass Productions Electronics. This has given us the ability to not only better service our customers’ needs in a more diversified manner, but also be more competitive.”
Herbalife Distributor Jeane Anthony, shared a different experience with her sole proprietorship, which markets products to help people get healthy and stay healthy. “The economy has actually helped the recruiting side of our business. With the economic downturn, more people are looking to do something for themselves, rather than invest their time in the corporate world that just laid them off!”
Citing tax benefits from being able to work from home, along with relief from day care and gas expenses, Jeane said, “Our company can provide a great full or part time income with very little investment.”
Bass Productions and Electronics currently employs four people. Economic uncertainty does make it difficult for small businesses, despite innovative ways of providing goods and services. Melinda elaborated, “We have had many thoughts over the last few years, many things we would like to offer, but because of the economy, we have waited. Isn’t everyone hoping things will improve soon? I feel our economy needs to be directed back to a more traditionally prosperous market.”
When asked what message she’d like to send to legislators and candidates seeking office, Melinda stated, “In order for small business to stay focused on their customers and participate more in the community, government should have less involvement, so that the smaller businesses can concentrate on product and service, instead of all the bureaucracy.”
When asked about what each business owner liked most about their jobs, they both expressed enjoyment in working with their customers.
Jeane said, “With Herbalife, I have the opportunity to change people’s lives every day through better nutrition and income. I get to see firsthand how our amazing products give people a new lease on life.” In addition to that, “I have only myself to answer to, which gives me freedoms one can never have when working for someone else.”
“I love my customers,” said Melinda. “I enjoy not only getting to help them find what their specific needs are, but also getting to visit with them and see how things have changed in their lives.”
As for goals, Bass Productions and Electronics plans to remain open providing services, and move more inventory online to accommodate a more diversified customer base. “We would like to move into 2013 with a more homey feel here…something where we can offer a personal shopping experience that provides not only the service and product here in the store, but also bring that into the home with our installation services.”
When asked, Melinda offered some business advice, “Choose your investment opportunities wisely. If you don’t have a business plan…create one. If you have a business plan, follow it. If it isn’t working, due to the changing market, then be prepared and willing to change it to meet the needs of your business, as well as your customers. Small towns are hard. Buying local isn’t always first and foremost in the minds of our citizens because there are so many other places to get things. Compete on service, not always prices. Service is where the small town heart is.”