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These stories were published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on November 4, 1998. All rights reserved.
From Car Detailing to Phones to Beepers
Mitch Brown's first venture, Princeton Kar Kare, required lots of elbow grease: it was a car detailing firm. From there he began to sell car phones, which led into the cell phone business, which grew into pagers. He added a partner -- in life as well as in business -- when he married Debbie Brown. They opened a 1,200 square-foot second store in East Windsor, and now they are expanding from 500 square feet at the first location on Princeton-Hightstown Road to 1,500 square feet at the Village Square Shopping Center on Clarksville Road.
The Browns offer cellular phone and paging sales and service and carry Motorola, AT&T cellular, DKI, Audiovox, Mitsubishi, and NEC products. They have the largest ComCast dealership in Mercer County. "ComCast asked us early in 1993 if we wanted to be a dealer, and we thought it would be something else added," says Mitch Brown. "We didn't know it would take over our company. Once we saw the cellular business was bringing in more than the detailing business, we opened the East Windsor store early in 1997. It was a real success and we realized that we needed more retail space in West Windsor also."
Mitch went to Mercer County Community College, and Debbie majored in advertising design at College of New Jersey. His father was a Manhattan-based food broker and hers was a Sun Oil engineer. They met at Hamilton Fitness Center, and at the time she was an art director at Merrill Lynch.
"The pager business is definitely growing," says Debbie Brown. "For cell phone users, it is cheaper to give out your pager number and use a pager to screen your calls. For some calls, you may want to wait until you get to a landline and call back."
Mitch Brown still owns part of Princeton Kar Kare, and Nate Barnes is keeping that business on Princeton Hightstown Road. The Browns will occupy their new store at 17 Clarksville Road at least by November 9.
Bohdan and Marie Porytko have been in the pager and cellular telephone business for 15 years; they opened a fourth location on Brunswick Pike earlier this year.
The very latest pager, says Jennifer Grear, manager, is Motorola's Pocket Talk. "It allows messages to be left in the caller's own voice," says Grear. It has guaranteed message delivery and keeps sending the message until reception is acknowledged. The pager/portable answering machine costs $49 and the service is $19.95 monthly. For now, it works in Lawrenceville but not in Hopewell and Princeton, but soon it will be ubiquitous in the Boston to Washington Market.
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