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There is perhaps no faster growing sector of technological innovation than alternative energy and green solutions. The rise in energy costs and a more environmentally-conscious public has led to the growth of companies creating and selling technology to improve the environmental impact of nearly every aspect of our daily lives.
At the forefront of this new green revolution is SuperGreen Solutions, a franchised retail chain that offers a one-stop-shop for a range of energy efficient solutions for commercial and residential customers as well as expert advice and guidance through in-home consultations on the best products for each customer.
SuperGreen Solutions offers a comprehensive approach which also includes rebate advice, tax credit guidance, sales, installation and after-sales service.
“Nearly 20 years ago, when I first went looking for green energy technology, I discovered I couldn’t find everything I needed in one place,” said SuperGreen’s founder and president Sean Cochrane. “And when I could find them, no rebates or tax credits applied to offset my cost of entry. Many vendors didn’t even know about green technology or sustainable building practices. The need literally spawned the company; I’ve been in the eco-products industry ever since.”
Cochrane, a native of Australia, first launched his idea as AllSafe Energy Efficient Products in his home country in 1995 and soon had 11 stores open.
The success of the business prompted Cochrane to set his sights on America, knowing the concept would be just as effective in the states. He met franchising veteran Ray Titus at an international franchise show in Sydney in 2009, when their trade show booths happened to be across the aisle from each other.
Titus, always on the lookout for innovative business ideas, learned that Cochrane was looking for a way into America. The pair decided to meet when Cochrane was in the U.S. speaking at an upcoming West Coast Green event and ended up talking for two days straight. Titus saw the “future of green” in Cochrane’s company and knew this was something he wanted to be part of, and so a partnership was born.
“Eighteen months later, I moved to the U.S. where I rebranded the concept and opened the first SuperGreen Solutions in Palm Beach Gardens in June 2011,” said Cochrane. “With Ray’s expertise and support, we launched a franchise program within the year.”
Cochrane’s nearly two decades of experience working with energy efficient and sustainable products in three different continents is bolstered by Titus’s 27 years of franchising experience both domestically and internationally.
They are joined by Jim Butler, SuperGreen’s director of sales, who has over 22 years of experience in franchise development from a marketing and sales perspective as well as Carl Ehlert, who will be overseeing the brand’s operations. Ehlert worked for decades building brand recognition for companies like Ben & Jerry’s, and helping small businesses build their brands through custom fixture programs.
“There is really nothing like SuperGreen Solutions,” said Titus, CEO of United Franchise Group, a franchisor that represents seven different brands including SuperGreen. “We are offering a combination of products and services you can’t get from anyone else and a franchise opportunity on the cutting-edge of technology. With an industry leader like Sean at the forefront, SuperGreen is on track for tremendous growth both in the U.S. and beyond.”
Unlike big box home improvement stores that offer a limited selection of green energy products to consumers, SuperGreen Solutions gives consumers a single destination from which to shop green products for all aspects of residential or commercial use, as well as in-home consultations to help inform their purchases. “Anyone can sell you a hot water system, or skylight,” said Cochrane, “but we give you expert advice on how to size it correctly, choose the best brand for your needs and get every available green option rebate and incentive. We also provide assistance with financing as well as delivery, installation and after-sales support.”
SuperGreen Solutions’ products range from LED lighting and solar power solutions to ventilation and insulation products for homes and businesses. Additionally, the company focuses on the booming industry surrounding energy management, energy storage and electric vehicle charge stations. SuperGreen also offers a free, proprietary software application that allows customers to calculate their energy cost savings when using various energy-efficient products in their home, based on what they are currently paying. Customers include home and business owners looking to lower their energy and maintenance costs through the use of a single product or by completely greening their home from floor to ceiling with multiple solutions. Commercial clients typically include auto dealerships, hair salons, gas stations, restaurants and bars, grocery stores, office buildings and more, as well as builders and contractors.
SuperGreen currently has 13 locations in nine states, including California, Texas, Iowa, Florida, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Georgia and Colorado. Franchise owners are required to have a brick-and-mortar store but also offer in-home consultations.
The company has four additional locations under development, and is targeting California, Washington, Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania, among other strategic markets for growth. SuperGreen has also begun international expansion, with pending locations in Canada, Panama and South Africa. By the end of 2014, the company expects to have 70 stores open and plans call for a total of 300 locations within 3 to 5 years.
Franchisees come from a wide variety of backgrounds, but all share a common interest in the green industry and a desire to work for themselves.
“We look for entrepreneurial-minded individuals with a passion for the green industry and alternative energy,” Cochrane said. “Beyond that, we are open to anybody who is willing to work hard to represent the brand, follow our proven systems, and make their business a success.”
While Cochrane is eager to expand his business as rapidly as possible, that drive comes from a genuine and passionate place. “SuperGreen Solutions is more than just a business,” he said.
“Of course we want to be successful and create wealth for our owners, but that’s only a small part of our overall goal. It is also a movement to preserve the environment, offer energy solutions and improve the future of our planet for generations to come. We are truly a triple bottom line company: People, Planet, Profit.”