SPRING HILL — Front and center: motorcycle batteries, three grades, with two-year warranties. Immediately to the right, where retail gurus say a shopper first gazes: racks of AA batteries and their little cousins, up to two dozen a pack.
Such is the greeting customers receive when they enter the newly opened Batteries+Bulbs, a store devoted to just those goods, in the Mariner Square shopping center.
Hard to imagine, but the outlet advertises "over 45,000 batteries, light bulbs & related products."
Franchise owner-operator Rob Barron points out that the use of batteries and bulbs begins with almost everyone's morning wake-up.
"They look at the clock. Then they boot up their computer, start the car to head to work," he said.
All rely on a battery or a bulb.
Barron, 40, who has spent his adult life in sales, said he researched entrepreneur opportunities for six years before choosing Batteries+Bulbs. The choice is particularly appropriate in Florida he said, noting, "Florida is the No. 1 killer of batteries. It's the heat."
Also, his franchises, in Spring Hill and New Port Richey, "are the only place that has enough batteries during hurricane season," he said.
The business can replenish its stock with overnight delivery.
What begins as a quick stop at Barron's independent franchise for, perhaps, a $3.99 watch battery can evolve into an education in electricity that's far more engaging than a high school physics class.
Batteries cover the gamut, in size and specificity, from that thumbnail-size wristwatch power source through energizers for hearing aids, cellphones, laptop computers, camcorders, digital cameras, cordless power tools, lawn and garden implements, all-terrain vehicles, personal watercraft, boats, golf carts, cars and trucks.
Store associates will install vehicle batteries on site for free and will go to a customer's home to install golf cart or watercraft batteries.
"If we don't have it, we can get it for you or tell you where you might get it," said sales associate Chris Dombkowski.
Dombkowski's knowledge shines when it comes to light bulbs. Beholding four lighted bedside table lamps, each with a different glow yet of the same wattage, he suggests that a customer guess whether the bulb is incandescent, compact fluorescent, LED or halogen.
"It's like a game," he said.
Flip the cards beneath each lamp to learn the answer.
Likewise, a color temperature model depicts four dollhouse-size rooms furnished alike, walls bearing paint color chips, lit by bulbs emitting daylight, soft white, bright white and cool white.
"You have to know the color temperatures," Dombkowski said.
Based on a customer's lighting choice, associates "will tell you what we think you want, but also what you need."
Another demonstration site depicts various kinds of bulbs and their energy cost per year.
Beyond household bulbs, which include decorative bulbs, are others for vehicle lights, flashlights, appliances and outdoors, including high-intensity street lights. Power-related products include jumper cables and boxes, conglomerate wiring and high-tech flashlights.
The store also accepts all defunct batteries for recycling.
Dombkowski said Batteries+Bulbs' four local employees have undergone training both online and in the store.
Beth Gray can be contacted at [email protected]