"Like a true nature's child We were born, born to be wild We can climb so high I never want to die "
- Born To Be Wild - Steppenwolf

Featured Studio Owner

Jack Otepka
Home Video Studio - Apex

Date: 03/21/2013

In a world where, lately, we seem to hear plenty about Wall Street it's a pleasure to see that "Main Street" is alive and well in Apex, North Carolina. There, from a charming location in the heart of Apex's historic downtown, Peter and Sharon Galluzzo own and operate Home Video Studio. Daily they apply their firmly held beliefs in a vision, some hard work, faith and, yes, love to provide "Video Services for Everyone" in and around this Raleigh suburb. Their journey, from first thoughts about starting a home-based business to their recent move from home into a retail store, is a well-documented story of strategic planning and daily diligence to doing the right thing at the right time. This is the stuff of a successful Home Video Studio owner. This is why we proudly salute them as March's Studio Owners of the Month.

Peter and Sharon's success story begins, as many do, back in the days of their youth. Peter had always had an interest in computer technology and, as a kid, wrote video game programs. Naturally he gravitated to Computer Science in college. This is where he met Sharon who, always outgoing and people-oriented, obtained her degree in English Literature. Upon graduation from Hofstra University they soon married and started their life together in New York with Peter applying his computer skills in corporate America while Sharon commenced her career in public relations with its attendant duties of administration, fund raising and event planning.

The next dozen years produced a wonderful life for the Galluzzos: two beautiful daughters, career advancement and an opportunity to move to the Raleigh NC area - a gorgeous part of the country and a technology hub. But Peter is not one to stand pat, and a couple of thoughts had been gnawing at him. One was a little "entrepreneurial bug" that kept biting him and giving him an itch to leave the corporate world and build a business of his own. The other was a growing hunger to work with video, tweaked by his involvement with the AV team at his church. So Peter and Sharon began to investigate the idea of making money with video - not always the easiest prospect. Lo and behold they found Home Video Studio, a business opportunity that boasted many success stories and a proven plan. Here was an opportunity to work from home, be close to their two daughters, work as a team and make money doing something they loved.

There's an old saying: "The will to win is not nearly as important as the will to prepare to win." No Home Video Studio owners exemplify this maxim quite like Peter and Sharon. "When we first began to inquire about Home Video Studio and whether it might be a good fit for us we realized we needed to take some preliminary steps to ensure a successful venture," says Sharon. "The first of these was to take care of some personal debt so we wouldn't have that pressure added to the cares of starting a business."

In the meantime they talked to several studio owners to get some wise counsel. "We were sold on the idea of a franchise from the start," says Peter. "The franchise would shorten our learning curve and that's what we liked initially. We also liked the prospect of staying on the cutting edge with constant training opportunities - not to mention the tech support, the graphics department and a maintained website. The website has always been our number one front door and we've never had to do a lot to keep that door looking great."

"Plus when we spoke with other successful owners we saw some consistent qualities that we believed in and wanted to emulate," says Sharon. " We could see that the excellent studios were big on planning. They were positive. They were confident yet teachable."

So after their due diligence and at the right time (in their case after a couple of years) Peter and Sharon crossed the last of the preliminary preparations off their list, took a deep breath and opened their studio in their Apex NC home in June of 2008.

"Our original plan was for Peter to work his corporate job full-time until we got off the ground and established," says Sharon. That would mean Peter devoting his evenings and Sharon devoting her days (in-between full-time mothering) to the studio. "Then Peter would leave his full-time job, work the studio and I would get a job." This "straddling" lasted a little over two years - then it became evident it was time to pull the trigger again. Says Peter, "Our business was growing and we needed to make a decision. After looking at our original plan we felt we needed to revise it. We decided both of us working in the studio was the best way to yield the income we wanted and needed for our family."

This choice to work their studio full time was a risk, but aren't most major life decisions? This is what they had wanted, and they began to make an immediate impact. Soon the Galluzzo's name began to be mentioned regularly in the weekly top income list - and continues to be mentioned. Soon many awards began adorning their shelves and walls - including the Quickstart Award, The Relationship Mindset Award, eleven (and counting) Hanley Awards for Video Excellence and the most coveted Studio Owner of the Year in 2010. Soon the Galluzzos became not just mentored, but mentors. Sooner than planned Peter and Sharon saw the need to move out of their home and into a retail area. "We really just make a plan and follow it," says Sharon describing their success." Sometimes it changes...sometimes things happen even quicker. Peter quit his full time job sooner than expected and we recently - again earlier than expected - moved into a store front."

Yet these successes are not a surprise to them - just a realization: "If there's any 'success formula' someone can draw from," says Peter, "it's that from the beginning we were running a successful business in our minds. We have been in "excel" mode since day one. And it wasn't do or die, either. It was just 'do' " Sharon adds, "Now we have another hurdle to jump. We must hire employees in order to keep growing. This is new territory for us, but it's a must! The important thing is that we had a solid foundation and the experience of nearly five years to build on when we're making decisions."

The Galluzzos have learned a few things about being Home Video Studio owners. Peter shares a few of his highlights: "Number one, market your business consistently and daily. Number two, get referrals. You need word of mouth business! Number three, customer service. Customers like the word "yes" and we try to say it often." Sharon shares Peter's sentiment on the importance of customer service and relationships. "We love that what we do touches the hearts and spirits of our customers. They trust us with their most precious memories and we feel honored that they let us do that.

The Galluzzos are certainly on a success track rooted in the basics. They continue to set goals and plan. They regard their business as the working out of their faith, their integrity and their commitment to community. And what kind of business building is in store for the Galluzzos in the future? "That's easy," laughs Sharon, "I want to have multiple locations. And one of them has to be at the beach!"

If that's their plan you can bet it's written down and acted upon a little bit every day...that's the Galluzzo way.

Jack Otepka
Apex NC

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