Researching franchise opportunities for a career change two years ago, Matt Schultz said he came upon scores of potentially lucrative business opportunities. None, however, appealed to him as much as one with particular sentimental value.
"At the age of 8, I developed an infection in my ear canal and had to have my eardrums replaced," Schultz said. "I've struggled with hearing for the past 30 years, so I had a soft spot for Zounds Hearing Center when I came across it."
He subsequently bought into the Phoenix-based business, opening a franchise in April in Culver's plaza in the 15000 block of West Bluemound Road in Elm Grove.
The location offers free hearing exams — including in-home tests — as well as fittings for its three, specially-designed hearing aids. The devices, according to Schultz, are cost effective, respond to a range of hearing loss and eliminate nearly all background noise.
"We sell aids that treat moderate and severe loss and an adaptable model for those who currently experience moderate loss, but will likely suffer more severe hearing issues in the near future," said Schultz, who adds that he, along with his father, are avid Zounds customers. "Manufacturing our own aids lets us sell them at up to half the cost of other hearing aid stores that don't have that capability. All of our aids are priced within $200 of each other and reduce ambient noise up to 90 percent."
Zounds hearing aids, he said, are equipped with a remote control roughly half the size of an iPhone, which allows users to easily manage volume and sound quality. They also have a non-disposable battery capable of lasting 18 hours before needing to be recharged.
In his previous business life, Schultz was a corporate salesman whose responsibilities included conducting layoffs. He is content knowing his new venture likely will not be as financially lucrative.
"I got into this business to treat people right and build a brand that they can trust," he said. "It's personally rewarding when clients tell me they're able to hear birds chirping for the first time in years; so much more rewarding than issuing pink slips."
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JUST THE FACTS
BUSINESS: Zounds Hearing Center
ADDRESS: 15280 W. Bluemound Road, Elm Grove
PHONE: (262) 395-4421
OWNER: Matt Schultz
TYPE OF BUSINESS: hearing aids and testing
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