Written by The Business Journal Staff
Antony Ayodele, Owner
What we do:
Cellular phone service and repair
Why did you decide to go into business as Cell Pros, Antony?
I saw a need in the market for an all-in-one shop, where customers can get their phones or computers repaired and choose a competitive rate plan.
Is this an industry you had previously worked in, Antony?
I had business partners when I first started, but I had never worked in cellular before.
You’ve opened five locations in the last few years and are planning a sixth, is this a growing market, Antony?
Yes, prepaid is one of the fastest growing segments of the wireless industry and all the major carriers are making a huge push to offer more and more competitive services.
Are there any plans to open a store outside of Fresno, Antony?
Yes, as we perfect our business model, the goal is to build a franchise model.
What about the community has helped you be successful so far?
People have come to know us as the place to come when they have service issues, or cellular phone questions. Trust, dependability and honesty have helped us build a loyal and consistent customer base.
Your business is a participant in the local Calworks subsidized employment program. What is that like?
It is not easy — a lot of people coming from a disadvantaged background have a difficult time adjusting to getting back to work, especially in a competitive and fast-paced environment like ours. Some people work well and others can’t keep up.
What made you decide to get involved, Antony?
I like the possibility of helping people get back on their feet. I was unemployed when I started looking into this industry so I know it can be difficult to get back in the workplace after some time off.
How many employees have you hired through the program, Antony?
Three so far but we hope to hire more. It’s about finding the right candidates that fit our business.
Do you think more businesses should participate in the program?
Yes, I think more business should participate but I don’t think the program is for everyone. The client base is a challenge and may not be a good fit for certain businesses.
Why is community involvement important to you as a business owner?
The more we give back the better our business performs. Having a name that customers can relate to and say, “Oh yea they helped me with (fill in the blank)” is vital to our growth.
You have also mentioned plans to develop an internship program. What would that look like, Antony?
We would love to bring in high school seniors in an advertising capacity. Building a social networking team that helps us market to that demographic and also learns about business management would be a great win-win.
Do you think there is a high level of interest from local youth in the community, Antony?
I think as we develop the program and speak with school officials there will be more interest in the program. Right now, the biggest obstacle is the lack of awareness as to who we are.
What has been your proudest accomplishment in your career so far?
Every day is rewarding for me. Honestly I cannot pinpoint one particular accomplishment. I am proud of our commitment to the community and our loyalty to the customers who contribute to our growth.
What goals do you still have left?
Franchise, opening up more stores in other markets to garner more exposure.
What was your first job and what did you learn from it, Antony?
McDonald’s. I was a line cook and quickly moved on to being a cashier and drive-thru operator. I liked knowing how things worked behind the scene. It’s one thing to walk into a place and order something but it’s another to know and understand how that order is processed from beginning to end. I was interested in the process.
What do you like to do in your spare time, Antony?
Read. I try to consume a book a week.