Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Mark's 'Really Good Stuff' ; Fireworks Bringing the Boom to Mattress Chain's Sales

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Mark's 'Really Good Stuff' ; Fireworks Bringing the Boom to Mattress Chain's Sales

Article excerpt

For 41-year-old Evansville business owner Mark Hisle, his firework brand isn't just a way to mark and sell his products, it is a matter of pride in the quality and originality of what he produces. It's the Really Good Stuff.

Hisle opened his first firework store in 1999 and began his operation in his West Side store off the Lloyd Expressway. The former University of Evansville basketball player stayed in the city he loves and began selling a product he loves just as much.

But Hisle didn't stop at just selling fireworks. In 2006, he took it one step further and began developing his very own brand: Really Good Stuff fireworks.

"It's not just fireworks," Hisle said. "That's no fun just selling fireworks, the same fireworks everybody else has, there's no purpose. These things (RGS brand) have purpose. This right here? We designed."

He said each and every one of his products have been personally designed and named - many of which have been chosen by his three children, Kaylie, Kenna and Kobe. What sets Mark's Fireworks a part from other stores, he said, is that there's a story behind each label, and a personal touch to every product.

"We have to name everything," Hisle said. "It's pretty funny. I'm running out of kids though."

Really Good Stuff, Inc., isn't the only facet of Hisle's business model. Mark's Mattress Outlets re-emerge at the end of each firework season, roughly mid-July, to back and provide a foundation for the business as a whole.

"I'd love to be able to sell fireworks year-round, but it's not going to work that way," Hisle said. "And that's really our big advantage. We don't have to cover a year's worth of expenses at our stores with fireworks, so it allows us to give just awesome values to the customer."

It's the mattress side to his business model, Hisle said, that floored him when he began selling mattresses at his stores about seven years ago.

"We just have to cover basically a month's worth of expenses with our fireworks, then we move our mattresses in. And who would have thunk it? People buy mattresses. I didn't. I was like, 'Mattresses? Really? OK, we'll try it.'"

He said his first venture into selling a second product ended after a short stint. Hisle sold tools at closeout outlet prices, at his first store Tool Box and More. "It wasn't going to be a normal tool store," he said.

"It was going to just be closeout, and shelf pulls and discontinued items. I learned a lot about the closeout market. It lasted about 18 months, and I learned really quick, that uh-uh, this is not for me. But I did learn the closeout market."

From there, Hisle sought advice from a friend looking to get out of the furniture business. The advice: sell mattresses.

So he did.

"I took my closeout mentality with the mattresses, and we did a mattress store," Hisle said. …

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