Michael Harrington saw opportunity amid the tragedy and struggles of COVID-19 health crisis.
He watched his two children attend school from home, after the State of New Mexico mandated last year that school districts close in-person classrooms to stop the spread of the virus.
Harrington noticed his kids using more and more electronic devices for their remote lessons, and when a new battery needed replacing or a tablet needed repair, they went online.
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He figured other people in the Carlsbad community also saw such needs escalate during the pandemic and sought to meet that demand.
On July 19, Harrington opened Batteries Plus at 1302 Canal St., offering batteries of all kinds – from hearing aids to jet skis, cellphones or for wheelchairs – along with a variety of electronics and services.
The store also offers phone repairs, key fobs, and car battery testing.
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“During COVID, I saw we had an opportunity with people needing items,” Harrington said. “I saw at home, watching the kids going through homeschooling, the amount of devices we were using went way up. I kept seeing people go online to order. I thought we could bring a mortar store for this town.”
He first moved to Carlsbad about 15 years ago and opened oilfield services company Closed Loop Specialties in 2008.
That awareness of the oil and gas industry, a leading force in Carlsbad’s economy, drove Harrington to want to not only serve the people of Carlsbad but also large corporations in the area.
“Batteries Plus of Carlsbad will meet the need for those that need immediate repair for devices, quality products in-stock and same-day services,” he said.
“Our local team will be there to help provide a memorable experience that is readily accessible to truck drivers, residents, local businesses, and more to meet their demand for a quick and efficient shopping experience, conveniently located in their neighborhood.”
Batteries Plus plans to be heavily involved in the community, Harrington said, intending to help the local fire department with its annual smoke alarm drive and participating in local charity events throughout the years.
“I want to be a big part of the community,” he said. “We’re here to help people.”
Founded in Green Bay, Wisconsin in 1988, Batteries Plus now has about 700 locations nationwide.
Chief Executive Officer Scott Williams touted the company as a fast-growing national brand aiming to meet the nation’s growing needs for electronics and related services.
Williams said store owners like Harrington help give the store its value for local services and provide for its role in the community.
“Mike and the new Batteries Plus location will be an excellent addition to our team,” Williams said. “We are excited for Mike and his location to grow within their community and provide our products and services to their neighbors in Carlsbad.”
And when Carlsbadians can shop local at Batteries Plus, Harrington said the money stays local rather than going to massive corporations through online sales.
“Something that’s locally-owned, employs locally, has a vested interest in the community,” he said.
A worldwide increase in the use of electronic devices began years before the COVID-19 pandemic, per an August 2020 study published in the journal Nature Medicine.
The study showed that in 2019, 67 percent of people worldwide were subscribed to mobile devices, of which 65 percent were smartphones.
Adrian Hedden can be reached at 575-618-7631, firstname.lastname@example.org or @AdrianHedden on Twitter.