After selling his dealership to Kyocera five years ago, Reed Melnick is on a mission to return to his entrepreneurial roots.
(Pictured above: Reed Melnick)
Reed Melnick, former president of Nevill Imaging Systems in Dallas, is ready to rock again.
It’s been five years since he sold his dealership to Kyocera and three years since he left Nevill after remaining for two years after the sale.
Describing himself as “retired but not retired,” although a brief recap of what he’s been doing the last three years skews towards not retired, Melnick is ready to return to his roots and buy a dealership or several smaller ones in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
Melnick has always been a maverick so it’s no surprise that he misses the entrepreneurial aspect of building and growing a dealership in the U.S. It’s also no surprise that “retired but not retired” to him means helping out occasionally at Nevill, managing his real estate holdings (he owns seven properties in the Southwest), traveling (he has a new RV), and investing in the markets. “I’ve become good at understanding things that are boring to so many people,” he said.
And if that’s not enough to fill his days, he spends seven days a month in Mexico at Professional Office Products (POP), a small dealership he owns in Reynosa, while the rest of the month remains in touch with his POP leadership team from his home office in Dallas.
While “retired but not retired” has allowed him to spend more time with his wife, something he has no interest in changing whatever comes next, Melnick admits, “It’s not really the best thing for a renegade entrepreneurial person to focus just on my Mexico business.”
Melnick has no regrets selling Nevill, which he had grown into a $20-million dealership, or about his decision to move on after his initial two-year contract with Kyocera expired.
“We were one of Kyocera’s top one or two direct operations,” said Melnick. “From a profitability standpoint, we were number one by far.” He’s also proud he helped Kyocera see a return on its investment before he left Nevill.
Melnick concedes it was a culture shock switching from running his own business to overseeing a direct operation where he had to ask permission to get things done. Even though Kyocera gave him more leeway than they did others running direct operations, it was difficult and ultimately not a good fit for someone with a deep-rooted entrepreneurial spirit.
After his two-year agreement with Kyocera expired, Melnick focused on transforming POP into a business that operated more like a U.S. dealership. POP was initially a service operation that had an agreement with Kyocera to service its machines in Mexico, but new technology such as e-automate, Print Fleet, and Compass Sales Solutions has changed the way POP services customers. Response times are now quicker, service is more proactive, and customers now enjoy the benefits of auto-toner shipments.
Melnick has also trained POP’s technicians and administrative staff on the concept of creating customers for life just as he did at Nevill. POP’s employees now view working for the dealership as a career rather than a job and are proud of their company.
In two years POP has grown by more than 40% and is now a $1.1-million dealership with a new office in Reynosa and satellite offices in Matamores and Nuevo Laredo. This year Melnick projects a minimum of 25% growth.
Returning to an industry stateside where print is on the decline doesn’t bother Melnick because he still sees an infinite opportunity to capture new business.
“If you have 2% of a marketplace in an industry, which to me is huge, and the number of pages drops in half, don’t you think you can double the size of your company by just working harder and [finding] new customers [and getting 4% of the market]?” he says. “If you don’t have saturation, take it from other people.”
Melnick is open minded about the type of dealership or dealerships he's looking to buy.
“I’d rather buy a troubled company, get a good value for it, then do the work to turn it around.”
The past few years has allowed him to enjoy life in ways he never had time for before. He said that’s helped him grow and mature as a person.
“When I first sold, it was like what am I going to do every day?” said Melnick. “Over the last five years, it’s helped bring me down to earth and reflect on the things that are important. And to do it again I’ll be a whole lot smarter about the things I do and how I do it.”
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