Local entrepreneur Christine Ricci and her two business partners weren’t actively looking to sell their business, but then global tech care company Asurion pitched an offer to buy their group of uBreakiFix Phone Medic stores.
Asurion closed the deal on the 16 stores in four states on June 28. It also acquired a store slated to open in St. Louis.
“For the stores, I think the growth potential is just tremendous now,” Ricci told the Kansas City Business Journal.
Ricci, along with business partners Paul Kushnir and Mike Kushnir, founded Phone Medic in 2014. They started with one store in Blue Springs, which mainly focused on cell phone repairs. Their stores now employ about 100 people.
In 2018, the company joined the uBreakiFix franchise system and rebranded to uBreakiFix Phone Medic. At the time, the three entrepreneurs had eight stores.
Moving forward, the stores will drop the Phone Medic name and will become corporate-owned locations.
“UBreakiFix has created tremendous value in Kansas City and the surrounding communities, and we’re excited for the opportunity to amplify its local impact. We have immense respect for what Christine has accomplished with these stores and look forward to helping even more people in Kansas City and the surrounding communities fix their tech so they can stay connected to the things that matter most,” uBreakiFix by Asurion CEO Dave Barbuto said via email.
Asurion acquired the uBreakiFix franchise in 2019, which specializes in the repair of small electronics, such as smartphones, game consoles, tablets and computers.
Ricci, a 2020 Women Who Mean Business honoree, said she and her business partners agreed to sell because the deal creates multiple wins, including opportunities for employees. Asurion brings a depth and breadth of experience in electronics, from offering insurance and installation services to repairs, she said. Its expertise also extends to home appliances.
Last year, Asurion ranked on the Nashville Business Journal’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies List, with $10.40 billion in 2019 revenue and a 48.6% three-year growth rate. It employs 22,000 people companywide.
“As a small business, you can only grow the employees as fast as you can grow your business. Our employees were here because they wanted to grow. They wanted to grow personally and professionally. They wanted career paths,” Ricci said.
Thinking about Asurion’s resources and its massive employee base, it’s: “Wow, does that open up opportunities for my employees,” she said.
Some of her employees went to school for software development or are passionate about graphic design, and those roles are available at Asurion. The company also has formalized leadership programs and leadership pathways, she said.
“It’s just amazing the doors that it opens for the employees and for their growth,” Ricci said. “I feel like I’m sending my kids off to college, where the timing was right.”
Ricci and her partners no longer have a role with uBreakiFix, but she’s already thinking about her next venture.
“To create something and take it from nothing to something is tremendous,” she said. “I’ll probably do this all over again, just in a different industry. I’m a nurse by trade, so who knows? It could be in health care.”
Article from the Kansas City Business Journal.