No child’s play Featured

8:00pm EDT June 25, 2007

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 Ameritech.

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) 426-2108