Ken Sultar was the last of a dying breed. He was a phone book consultant.
For 16 years, he worked for a company that advised business owners on how to get their company the most efficient advertising in the yellow pages. In those 16 years, Sultar helped businesses save millions of dollars on their advertising. So naturally, the Our Town America franchise, a business model that relies on direct mail, was right up his alley.
“There’s a misconception that direct mail doesn’t work,” Sultar says.
Sultar was guilty of believing in that misconception at first. He was a bit hesitant to purchase his franchise as he thought that direct mail might be heading the way of the phone book. He did his homework and soon learned that the direct mail industry was thriving and, actually, the Internet and digitalization of the world have actually helped the direct mail industry.
“Studies show that Millennials love direct mail – mostly because they don’t typically receive much mail in general. It’s much nicer to read about a business you’re interested in on paper, rather than scrolling through your phone. Our mailings are personalized, and people just don’t get anything like that anymore,” Sultar says.
Sultar obviously thought there was something special about Our Town America and liked the concept of targeting people who are moving into a new neighborhood. In 2012, Sultar became the owner of Our Town America of Connecticut. It has gone very well, so several years later, he also bought Our Town America of Massachusetts. He now splits his workweeks, traveling between the two states.
How Ken came to Our Town America
As noted, the phone book industry has seen better days. We aren’t ragging on them. We like phone books. As door stops. (No, seriously, we’re rooting for them, but the Internet has certainly done a number on the industry.)
As Sultar puts it, “I saw the writing on the wall.” He adds that two other top salespeople left the company shortly after he did. “I was the leader, though. I started it,” jokes Sultar.
And so, in the months before he left, Sultar wound up talking to a franchise broker. “I was chatting with my brother-in-law who lives in the Cleveland area and a friend of his happened to be a franchise broker,” Sultar says.
Sultar spoke with that franchise broker, who was actually considering buying an Our Town America territory himself. The closest Our Town America franchise, at the time, was in Columbus, which was too far away for the broker. However, he thought Sultar, who lives in South Windsor, Connecticut, should look into buying a franchise. After all, Sultar had 16 years of experience in both business and in business sales, both of which are a major part of the Our Town America business model.
As mentioned, Sultar bought Our Town America of Connecticut in February 2012, the very next month attended his Our Town America on-site franchise training, and by April, he was a full-time franchise owner soon landing clients.
“It’s a great franchise for those that are dedicated, have a strong work ethic, enjoy chasing leads and like meeting new people. It’s rewarding helping people grow their business while also making the transition to a new area easier for new movers,” he says.
It’s not just about money
Sultar says that a big part of the attraction of owning two Our Town America franchises is the flexibility it affords him.
When he bought his first territory, his son Zack was a sophomore in high school, and on the baseball team. Sultar was able to manipulate his work schedule so he could attend nearly every game.
Previously, Sultar coached Zack’s baseball from when he started at age 5 through Little League at age 12. At age 11, Zack also started playing travel baseball. “You get tired of asking permission to get off work an hour early to go coach or watch games,” he says. “I wanted that flexibility of being able to leave the office when I wanted to — and to work later other times.”
Zack is now about to graduate college. Our Town America has also given Sultar more time with his wife, Alanna. He mentioned how, last fall, he won a contest for growing his business. The prize: A 10-day trip to Hawaii for Sultar and his wife. “If you work hard, with this company, you can earn that type of stuff,” Sultar said.
Obviously, Sultar knows what he’s doing. If you are a business owner in Connecticut or Massachusetts and want to learn about the benefits of targeting new movers, you know who to call.
Brittany is the head of Our Town America’s corporate marketing department. She specializes in digital and print media, social media, and public relations.