The USA Solar Store is a chain of independently run shops that offer alternative energy products. With 24 stores in 11 states, from California to Vermont, it is their goal to help bring renewable energy to everyday people all over the US.
Inspired by Helen and Scott Nearing, Dave Bonta and his wife moved to Vermont in the 1990's with the intention of living the simpler life. What started as a lifestyle choice eventually became a business, providing the products people need to live a sustainable lifestyle.
Dane recently asked Dave a couple questions about the stores and his unique opportunity.
What is a USA Solar Store?
It is a chain of retail energy stores. Our mission is to provide a local resource for education, products and services spanning conservation, efficiency, and many renewable energy options. We are an entrepreneurial team of "mom & pop" storeowners connected by a common purpose and functioning as a buying group. As such, we offer the resources of a multi-million dollar enterprise with the local flavor of your neighborhood corner store.
What products and services do you sell?
Solar thermal solutions - (Evacuated tube and flat plate collectors, controls & storage tanks)
Photovoltaic (PV electric) systems - All types of modules and balance of systems gear)
Biomass appliances for space conditioning.
LED and CFL lighting and daylight lighting systems.
High efficiency appliances that conserve energy and water.
Design & customer support services - Installation either direct from store or professionally referred.
The list goes on we have lots of products, most factory direct.
The USA Solar Store isn't a franchise, so how does one start their own? How much does it cost, and what do they get?
It is a business op, like a franchise but no ongoing royalty fees. This year license fee is $75k-done in 3 payments, drawn like a construction loan, stepped to deliverables.
Store owners get proven business model (9 years strong), inventory, training, ongoing support, easy entry into very lucrative renewable energy market potential and a fantastic collaborative brain trust of positive people.
How many stores?
We are at 25 fully opened, 4 moving to open this Summer, 8 more moving through the screening process. Our immediate goal is 50 by next Summer.