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Batteries Plus opens Sauk Rapids store

SAUK RAPIDS - Batteries Plus, a national chain focused on the replacement battery market, is in the process of broadening its reach and rebranding as Batteries Plus Bulbs, in an effort to expand into the light bulb market, too.

When Brian Musech - who owns a location in St. Cloud with his wife, Dolora - learned that, it seemed like the perfect time to expand his own operation. So they recently opened a new Batteries Plus Bulbs at 27 Benton Drive N.

"We had a soft opening because we did this a little earlier than we planned," said Brian Musech, whose new store launched just before Christmas. "Our marketing is set to kick in (Sunday), but the driving force behind this move is the expansion into light bulbs. That's going to open new commercial avenues for us - like schools, hospitals, trucking companies and manufacturers - and we needed more space to pursue those. We were short on office space and it just made sense to combine that with another retail store."

The Museches opened their St. Cloud store in 1994. It was the 26th franchise for Batteries Plus, which was founded in 1988 and has grown to more than 540 locations in 46 states. Through 2012, it opened an average of one store per week - and the Sauk Rapids location was No. 542.

Musech said his new 2,000-square-foot store occupies space that previously was a fitness center and part of an Asian restaurant. The location has more showroom space and several offices compared to the St. Cloud store, which covers 2,500 square feet but has more storage.

"We think there's going to be a huge move in the LED bulb market," said Musech, 43, who sold a Batteries Plus store he once owned in Baxter and in 2007 divested a mosquito control business he started while getting an economics degree at St. Cloud State University. "The 100-watt incandescents have been phased out and the 75-watt bulbs are being phased out. The days of you running to the store and picking up a four-pack of bulbs for your home for $1.99 are gone. And some CFLs aren't lasting as long as they're supposed to if they're used in the wrong application. LEDs are the next step, and they're more expensive but they're a lot more versatile and they'll last longer so you'll get your money out of them."

Musech said his stores carry 1,700 items and he has access to more than 40,000 types of batteries, light bulbs and accessories through its corporate affiliation. They also have 17 employees. Hours of operation are 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. For more, call the Sauk Rapids store at 230-2332 or visit