He’s been dubbed ‘the man with the van’, but Ken Preedy prefers to call himself ‘the man who can’ as this determined businessman has overcome two years of obstacles to open a store in Armadale.
Delays and set backs with a development were not going to stop the local entrepreneur: many would have walked away from the delayed project but Mr Preedy is so tied to his local area he even created a mobile business to service customers.
In 2015 Mr Preedy took up an option to build a brand new Battery World store on a green field site in Armadale Rd, Armadale. Although flabbergasted by the delays, Mr Preedy became the first in the 99-store network to create an entire mobile business.
“I had owned the Maddington Battery World store for over a decade,” Mr Preedy said, ”And sold it knowing I would open closer to home so my son and I could work together. But you know that expression about all best laid plans. Things became unstuck with delay after delay. I didn’t want to lose the momentum I had for bringing a specialised battery service to the area. We created a van that was as close to a mobile store as possible and I was able to service customers with everything from auto and marine batteries to the occasional call for hearing aid batteries or some AA’s for a computer mouse.”
Together with Battery World’s National Development Manager Alex Forbes – the duo then looked for a temporary site. After a year of searching the doors have swung open to a store pretty much a stone’s throw from where the new store will be eventually built.
“This is a great site,” Mr Preedy said, “But it is a bit like buying a house or building one: when you build you get things exactly as you want them. With battery technology changing as rapidly as it is – I have some pretty specific requirements. With more and cars requiring specialised batteries: many are no longer under the hood but under driver and passenger seats - so we need a good changing bay to service customers.”
An auto electrician by trade, Ken worked for years as a truck driver for Swan Brewery so appreciates the importance of customers keeping switched on. He still provides a 24-hour battery roadside service, seven days a week providing all your battery needs along as now providing a shopping experience where you can browse the range.
Mr Preedy said a recent fire at the Rockingham Battery World store from a battery taken in for recycling brought home how important it was to have a physical store for customers.
“Our team members are vigilant with lithium batteries,” he said, “While the lithium polymer chemistry battery that caught fire in Rockingham was not sold through our network, like all disused batteries, it could be dropped to any Battery World store for recycling.
“This was a popular battery used for model aircraft, remote control cars and some drones that has the potential to burn your house down. Our concern is for the potential harm to homes, hobbyists and their families.
“What worries us most is how children, in particular, treasure the toys these batteries are in – their remote control car or boat and they might be stored in their bedrooms. We do not want to be alarmist – but there must be a real call to arms to parents, in particular, to protect their families. The instability of lithium batteries means even when they were taken out of a gadget they could still cause a fire.
“Anyone with doubts about battery safety, chemistry or disposal should contact the store as we offer free advice and happily accept disused batteries. Safety is our priority so we don’t mind where people have bought their battery: if they are concerned they should call in.
“We have only been open a month and already people are coming in with all sorts of problems. The most frequent one has been people installing their own battery not realising new technology in cars means you have to code your car battery – that means telling the car a new battery has been installed.
“If the battery is not configured correctly, the cost of repairing such damage could be quite significant and may not be covered under warranty. In the worst case scenario failing to correctly fit the battery could result in a total shut down of the car.
“We will happily fit your battery for you – and even recycle your old battery as well.”