The U.S. Small Business Administration announced that Scott Johnson, President and Founder of Certified Retail Solutions has recently been selected as the 2015 New Hampshire Small Business Person of the Year.
Scott Johnson, knows well that change is the essence of life. As a business owner through most of the last forty years he has developed a keen understanding that markets evolve and those who provide products and services to changing markets need to stay one step ahead in developing solutions for the problems that can be anticipated.
Scott worked in sales, and in 1985, he started acquiring and developing real estate in northern NH, moved to Colebrook and started his own agency, Dixville Notch realty. With the collapse of the real estate market at the end of the 80’s, he moved to the coast of NH where he went to work for Zero One Distributors (a computer distributor) as a salesperson and eventually became director of International marketing and quickly grew a multi-million dollar pipeline of business in the European marketplace.
Clearly Scott had realized success as an employee but as being a business owner was in his blood and the seeds of the entrepreneur sprouted again in July of 1990 when Scott and a partner decided to start their own company to take advantage of a marketplace need, and their company supplied service parts for the rapidly growing PC business.
In 1993, Scott assumed full ownership and control of SOS Parts LLC, DBA Certified Retail Solutions (CRS). He continued to focus on growing the service parts business, eventually supplying OEM parts for IBM, Digital, and Compaq. Scott also built a team of trusted staff who shared his drive to anticipate the changing needs of their customers and develop solutions that were ready to be implemented. The company set on a path of continually expanding services to address the needs of the changing markets of their customers using retail point of sale equipment. By 2010 their range of services had grown to include on-site installation, maintenance, and repair services.
As an early CRS customer Yankee Candle Company, the most-recognized retailer in the candle business, approached Certified to help create a cost-effective service program for their hundreds of retail locations dispersed throughout the nation. Each location had only a few pieces of point of sale equipment but this customized equipment had grown to be vital in communicating vital sales and inventory information back to the management and distribution system for Yankee Candle. Scott and his colleagues used their experience designing service programs for other national retailers to provide a solution with Yankee Candle for a store hardware support program that fit their needs of reliability and timely support. This solution cut their store support costs while providing a higher level of service than was available through their competitors.
Today from a headquarters in Dover, NH, Certified Retail Solutions works with dozens of national retailers with similar footprints as the Yankee Candle Company. CRS has developed a world class distribution and tech support network that supports the needs of retailers and service providers by helping them to improve and extend the value of their technology assets.
The success of Certified Retail Solutions rests on the shared passion of leadership and staff to meet and exceed clients’ retail technology requirements. This dedication and focus translates into uniquely configured solutions, developed and supported by a proactive account management team and the entire organization from leadership to day-to-day operations. Certified Retail Solutions proven asset improvement and performance metrics, and its investments in OEM partnerships and certifications, inventory, and personnel, enable clients to extend their retail technology capabilities through Certified, maximizing the value of their IT assets throughout the technology lifecycle.
Certified Retail Solutions has steadily increased job growth and revenues under Scott’s leadership. Today they currently employ 90 people, an increase of 45% from 2012, and operate two facilities in Dover, NH including the headquarters, repair and production facility of 30,000 sq. ft. (financed by an SBA 504 Loan) and a 50,000 sq. ft. warehouse facility. Revenues continue to increase as well year after year. From 2011 to 2012 revenue increased 12%; 2012 to 2013 revenue increased 25%; 2013 to 2014 revenue increased 36%. Overall revenue has increased 90% from 2011 to 2014.
In the words of his nominator, Jeff Brown of TD Bank, "Scott’s passion IS his business and he is very good at it. What really sets him apart is his desire to share his success with others." Scott has found the time to be an active member of and a great contributor on the Dover Business & Industrial Development Authority, where he sits on the Board of Directors, he helped start and serves as Co-Chair of the BizEdConnect school-to-work intern program over the last two years. He currently has the third flight of paid interns from the Dover Career Technical Center at Dover High School at work at his two companies and, in addition, has helped to finance deserving interns going on to college according to Daniel Barufaldi, Dover, NH Director of Economic Development.
As a true entrepreneur, Scott Johnson is constantly looking for ways to leverage his knowledge into new opportunities. In 2010, Scott became an advisor to NextChoice, a Dover-based kiosk software company where he has helped direct their sales strategy. In 2012, NextChoice CEO, Bill Shaheen and Scott formed a new company and acquired the assets of RedDotNet, a California-based kiosk design and manufacturing company. They have moved the RedDotNet operations to New Hampshire where they have begun the early stages of integrating kiosk manufacturing at their Dover facility.
Greta Johansson, District Director of the SBA in New Hampshire said "The success of Scott’s business along with his commitment to the Dover community and the educational and training efforts of the BizConnect program distinguish Scott as an outstanding model for budding entrepreneurs throughout the state."