No child’s play

Joe Barbat was 17 years old when he
set up a kiosk in his father’s video
store to sell pagers.

It was soon apparent that his stand was
filling a previously unsatisfied need for
consumers when the pager stand started
generating more revenue on its own than
the entire video store. When that happened, he knew it was time to expand,
so he opened a stand-alone store and
began selling cellular service for

He was able to fund this venture exclusively with revenue from his pager
stand, after just one year.

From that store evolved Wireless Toyz, of which Barbat
serves as CEO. In
1998, as the wireless
marketplace evolved,
Barbat recognized
an opportunity to
provide consumers
with multicarrier
choices. He secured
nonexclusive agreements with several
cellular and satellite TV providers,
securing Wireless Toyz’s position as one
of the first nonexclusive wireless retailers in the country.

Consumers were drawn to the concept
of shopping multiple carriers under one
roof, and the demand propelled Barbat
to open more locations before turning
his company into a franchise.

By the end of 2004, Barbat had 62 locations; by the end of 2006, that number
had nearly tripled, to 180 locations. And
he doesn’t intend to stop there — Barbat
recently acquired Beepers ‘N Phones
Inc., with more than 30 locations in
Florida, which he is converting to
Wireless Toyz outlets.

HOW TO REACH: Wireless Toyz, or (248)