Jennifer Zalecki: Battery Wholesale
Jennifer Zalecki is powering Toledo’s entrepreneurship scene with her business Battery Wholesale. She has been with the company for 12 years and bought it four years ago.
Battery Wholesale is a chain of retail stores in NW Ohio and SE Michigan that specializes in all types of batteries including automotive, household, commercial, marine and recreational batteries. In a traditionally male dominated industry, Jennifer is making waves as the President and Owner of the company and has made it her goal to reach more customers throughout the Toledo Region. “It’s empowering to be a business woman, especially in this area.” – Jennifer Zalecki, President and CEO Battery Wholesale.
The company first opened its doors in 1983, with Ken and Marsha Zalecki as the owners. While Jennifer grew up knowing the family business, she didn’t necessarily picture herself taking it over down the road. However, she had a luxury retail background and saw some very practical applications from the luxury retail arena that she could bring to Battery Wholesale. Jennifer knew that customers want the same service across brands, “It doesn’t really matter what people are buying, they want the same experience. They want to feel like they are taken care of…and that their dollars are valued.”
Customer service is a huge part of Jennifer’s mission in running the company. She expects her service and management teams to be incredibly knowledgeable about all of the products that their store. When you enter the store needing a battery solution, her team will work with you one-on-one to make sure you receive the best care possible. They want you to leave educated about the products that you are purchasing and that it is the right fit for what you need. They won’t be simply matching part number to product and sending you on your way.
When Jennifer got more involved with the operations of the company she determined that the brand needed to focus on expansion. She graduated with her Masters in Business in 2011 and ran several case studies. The results? “I realized that if you are in the retail business and you aren’t growing, you’re moving backwards. So that became my new goal.” Battery Wholesale recently opened a location in Bowling Green Ohio, making that their seventh store in the Toledo Region. Jennifer’s goal is to expand, but not so quickly that she loses the customer service quality, or the specialization and knowledge of her employees. That being said, her timeline is to open a new store every five years.
Jennifer employs 28 people throughout NW Ohio and SE Michigan and her employees are what make her business so exciting. “The fun part of my job is all of the personalities that work here, bring us together, and make us who we are as Battery Wholesale.” She enjoys watching them grow in their career and watching their families grow.
Battery Wholesale loves being in the Toledo Region. They are not a franchise and they are committed to this area because of how loyal their customer base is. Jennifer says that her customers know what to expect and by expanding in this area, the company gets to continue to build and strengthen the relationship that they have with their customers. One of the things that she most appreciates is how knowledgeable her customers are about their automobiles because of the automotive industry. She reflects that it makes it fun to work with the customers.
Jennifer cares deeply for her customers and residents of the Toledo Region. She gives back by volunteering and contributing to a number of causes in the area, and has also made it her mission to educate NW Ohio and SE Michigan about the danger of button batteries. When asked if she had anything to add to her conversation with ToledoRegion.com she exclaimed, “Protect your babies from button batteries!” In the last five years alone there have been more than 10,000 reported cases of battery ingestion by toddlers and infants. Battery Wholesale is spreading the message that battery ingestion can be fatal and button batteries can be found everywhere, from watches and children’s toys, right down to the musical greeting cards we all give and receive daily.
It Matters Where You Make It ®