When Tom Rensenhouse, the owner of the Rensen House of Lights in Lenexa, Kans. and Independence, Mo., first discovered the benefits of Tag-N-Trak, an inventory control and accounting system designed for the lighting industry, the thought that he might one day own the company never crossed his mind.
But when Mylee
, the Manchester, Mo.-based business that offered the technology, announced that it was ceasing operations, Rensenhouse
realized that a profitable opportunity - one that could also benefit other lighting retailers - was waiting for him. Rensenhouse first began working with Mylee in 1996, when he installed Tag-N-Trak in the hope of better controlling his stock and growing profits.
quickly became a fan."I don't think that we'd be able to do the purchasing [as efficiently], and the inventory control wouldnÂ't be there without this service," he
observes. After he
learned two years ago that the owner of the 30-year-old Mylee
would soon retire, shuttering both the hardware and tech-support departments, he
was disappointed to say the least."When Mylee
announced that they were going to stop doing business, we realized that we were going to lose support [for our systems and software]," Rensenhouse
explains. Rensen House of Lights
and MyleeÂ's other clients were left with few options aside from seeking out inventory control services from companies that didn't specialize in lighting or using their existing equipment, but forgoing the essential tech-support the software manufacturer had supplied.Eager to maintain the success he
had with the product and unimpressed by the alternatives, Rensenhouse
, along with friend Joe Kafka of Lincoln Lighting in Nebraska, decided to purchase Mylee
and continue its long-standing commitment to the lighting industry. Despite minimal experience in the computer business, the pair was determined to have the same prosperous turn with Mylee
that they had in their retail ventures."We had gotten to know the support crew over the years.We proceeded to contact the people we thought were really good, rehired them, and made a deal with the former owners to buy the assets," Rensenhouse
says. The result is a "leaner and meaner" Mylee
which now, as Rensenhouse
notes, "is a money-making company."
retained nearly all of its customers despite the transition, according to Rensenhouse
."About 90 percent thought it was worth it to stay with us," he
In the 18 months since Tom Rensenhouse
and Joe Kafka have owned the business, they have added more than 10 new customers and 15 showroom locations to the fold.