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The Bankers Store New CEO And CFO Were Brought On Board To
Grow The Company Through Mergers And Acquisitions, And They Have Targeted Forty Companies
As Possible Acquisition Candidates As They Move Towards Fulfilling Their Vision
The Bankers Store, Inc.
1535 Memphis Junction Rd.
Bowling Green, KY 42101
President and CEO
Interview conducted by:
Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor
Published - September 14, 2007
Vince Buckman, President and Chief Executive Officer Mr. Buckman has been directly
involved at the executive and consulting levels with companies within the banking services
and support industry over his 33-year career. Prior to joining the Bankers Store,
Mr. Buckman served as an executive for a national company that marketed equipment and
services to financial institutions. He was a manufacturers representative for
automated banking and physical and electronic security, founder of a company operating
automated teller machines, and executive management at other companies providing equipment
and services to the retail and commercial banks.
The Banker's Store sells, installs and maintains a
variety of equipment used within the banking industry, including ATMs, digital security
systems, state-of-the-art drive-up equipment, payment solutions and imaging equipment. It
sells new and refurbished safe deposit boxes, safes, banking office furniture and other
specialized equipment to banks, credit unions, pharmacies, and other companies with
similar needs. It operates through two primary divisions: B.G. Office Equipment and B.G.
Banking Equipment. The Banker's Store trades Over the Counter under the symbol BSTR.OB.
CEOCFO: Mr. Buckman, what was your vision when you became
CEO of The Bankers Store last October and how is that developing?
Mr. Buckman: Last October, CFO Sam Stone and I
came on board to grow the company through mergers and acquisitions of like or similar
companies in this industry. We have a lot of experience in this industry. So far we have
interviewed a number of acquisition candidates and have at least a couple of them ready to
go once we get the funding to do so. We have identified approximately forty companies in
this space that would be candidates for us to acquire. As far as moving along, we are very
satisfied at this point with our progress and just looking for the funding in order to
accomplish our vision.
CEOCFO: Why is this a good time for a roll-up in the
Mr. Buckman: The industry itself is fragmented.
There is only one major player in this industry and many smaller supporting companies. A
number of companies like ours are privately held; they began as a mom and pop operation in
the 1970s and early 1980s and some of them are still that size. Because of the
consolidation of banks around the country, we need to be bigger in order to provide the
banks an alternative supplier. For example, US Bank is one of our customers, and they have
told us that if we were larger we could do more business with them in more locations. This
applies not only to the geographic reach of our business, but the breadth of banking
products and services we offer. Financial institutions that buy banking equipment like
ATMs also purchase office furniture. Expanding our presence in this industry will give us
the opportunity to do more business.
CEOCFO: What are the main products that you are supplying
and who is your typical customer?
Mr. Buckman: We mainly supply physical and
electronic security products to financial institutions. Those consist of drive-up banking
equipment, modular vaults, under-counter equipment, counter lines automated teller
machines, alarm systems, digital video security systems. We also sell safe deposit boxes
and a number of other products that banks need to do business. Our typical customers are
community banks, but we also serve larger regional banks such as US Bank and Fifth Third.
We also sell and install products for drive-through pharmacies and drug stores, utility
companies, and credit unions.
CEOCFO: Are the areas outside of banks a growing area for
Mr. Buckman: Yes, somewhat. In order to
facilitate that growth we have added some specialty items and have integrated a number of
systems to do a drive-up system for pharmacies. We just finished installing a drive-up
system for a pharmacy where we integrated the aspects of a bank delivery system with a
video ordering system like youd see at a McDonalds or a KFC drive-through. We
have been penetrating that market very nicely. We also sell to utility companies, as they
have drive-up needs as well.
CEOCFO: Do companies come to you for consultation on how to
structure what they are doing?
Mr. Buckman: Our business is much like that of a
consultant. Whether it is a drug store or banking branch, we will learn the details of
their specific situation. Usually we will sit down with them and their architects and
designers, and talk about the kind of equipment and what we can do to fulfill their needs;
both operationally and from a customer service standpoint. As the role of a consultant, we
tend to act along the lines of a systems integrator that I just mentioned that we could
be. That is, we pull together the products and software from whatever source necessary to
achieve the clients ultimate goals.
CEOCFO: Is it typically banks that are starting new branches
or is there much replacement of equipment in banks?
Mr. Buckman: Both, actually. We find ourselves
serving new branches and replacing worn out equipment. Equipment will generally last ten
to fifteen years in a drive-up environment. In addition to replacing equipment just
wearing out, there are some new innovations that we install and maintain in the drive-up
area, such as enhanced two-way audio and video that gives a better interface between the
bank and the customer. Sometimes we are called in to help a bank recover from a disaster
such as a fire. We were able to help one bank branch reopen in a temporary location with a
drive-through ATM and other necessary equipment within 24 hours after fire destroyed their
CEOCFO: Is furniture a new area for you?
Mr. Buckman: Our company was selling furniture
before Sam and I arrived, but we have taken steps to expand and broaden our offerings. The
genesis of our furniture business was a bank that wanted to know if we could provide
furniture in addition to the security equipment we were proposing. So, as a by-product of
being asked by financial institutions, we got into the furniture business. We
actually have a dedicated showroom facility and a couple of sales people supporting the
furniture side, selling not only to banks but other industries and businesses as well. A
couple of months ago we brought on a new upscale line, Kimball Office, and that seems to
be taking off really well. We are the exclusive dealer for this particular area of
Kentucky for Kimball.
CEOCFO: On the security side, do you design the systems,
resell, or work with partners?
Mr. Buckman: We do not manufacture equipment.
However, we do refurbish pre-owned equipment and it looks and feels like new. We will
sell, install and maintain this equipment, and its advantageous for our customers
who get like-new equipment at a significant discount compared with new and
its advantageous for our company, because of the margins. We do actually buy
equipment from manufacturers and then resell it, install it and maintain it. One of our
advantages of our business is that we have a number of suppliers to choose from when we
are talking with a bank or a pharmacy about a particular application. We have a number of
products to choose from and try to steer them toward what we feel is the best product for
a particular application.
CEOCFO: How do you reach potential customers?
Mr. Buckman: There are a number of ways. One, we
have an internet site which generates a lot of inquiries from all over the country.
Secondly, we do direct sales calls; we have sales people that go out and make calls
face-to- face with customers. We have been in business since 1977 and we have a lot of
existing customers and have a good reputation, and we get a number of referrals from our
CEOCFO: What is the geographic reach for you?
Mr. Buckman: Generally, I would say about 90% of
our business is within about 150 miles radius of Bowling Green, Kentucky, which is about
120 miles south of Louisville and about 65 miles north of Nashville, Tennessee. The
marketing area encompasses most of central Tennessee, plus most of western Kentucky, and
much of central and northern Kentucky up to the Ohio River, including Kentuckys
largest cities, Louisville and Lexington. We also serve other select customers outside
this natural geographic market.
CEOCFO: Will the proposed mergers or growth take you outside
of the territory?
Mr. Buckman: We are looking first primarily at
companies with operations in areas that are contiguous to ours. We are looking to grow the
company beginning with the southeast and then expand beyond that. Additionally, we are
looking at companies as acquisition candidates that add services or products that
complement or fit our existing offerings.
CEOCFO: Do you need to maintain much inventory?
Mr. Buckman: We have a fair amount of inventory
with regard to pre-owned equipment. We carry inventory and parts for service work on ATMs
and our other drive-up and security equipment. With regard to new equipment, for the most
part, we buy it from the manufacturer with a lead time anywhere from a week to sixty to
CEOCFO: What is the financial picture of The Bankers
Mr. Buckman: We have just published our 10-K
Annual Report, which showed that we did approximately $2.6 million in revenue for the last
fiscal year and we had a large 4th Quarter. Sales were more than $800 thousand
in the 4th Quarter, which was quite an increase over previous quarters. We had
a loss of about $4 thousand, which was less than expected. The strong performance of the
quarter offset personnel costs of the new CFO and me, which is the initial impact of our
acquisition focus. The company is cash flow positive and is a good solid ground-floor
opportunity for investment.
CEOCFO: Why should investors be interested and what might
they miss about the Bankers Store, that they should pay attention to?
Mr. Buckman: It is a good ground-floor
opportunity for growth in this industry, led by seasoned management. We have grown a
similar business in the banking services industry. The CFO was involved and I was involved
with bringing in acquisitions for a privately held company, which grew from a $7.5 million
company at the beginning of our involvement to a $35 million company when it was sold. We
have the experience to accomplish what we are setting out to do. This is a niche business
in a multi-billion dollar industry that continues to grow, both in the number of total
bank branches and ATM locations across the country. Security is always a necessary
component of the banking industry, and we have decades of experience helping make
financial institutions more secure as well as providing the most appropriate equipment
with which to serve their customers.
CEOCFO: What should people take away from this interview?
Mr. Buckman: The Bankers Store serves an
industry that continues to grow, as there is a great opportunity for us to provide an
equipment and service alternative not only for financial institutions but in growing areas
such as pharmacy drive-throughs. This is a good ground-floor opportunity for investors.
Our company is very small at the moment, but we are implementing a strategy to expand our
presence through mergers and acquisitions, and thus, grow to a size needed to serve our
traditional community bank customers and the regional and super-regional institutions in
the financial industry, while doing so profitably.
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