For Jack Froonjian, owner of CoreTranz Business Services, merchant services is more than just helping businesses with their credit card processing needs. It’s about developing and building personal and professional relationships with clients and providing them with exceptional customer service. Froonjian, who spent four years in the Army and 14 years with the Department of Defense before entering the world of merchant services, shared the story behind his journey and offered some great advice and lessons learned for aspiring entrepreneurs.
“When the opportunity first came up to get into merchant services, I dove right in” he said. “It didn’t take long for me to get addicted to the business and to develop a passion for it. It also wasn’t long before I went off on my own and got my first sponsorship through First USA Bank in Dallas. That was in 1997 and ever since I’ve been direct through multiple banks and sponsorships.”
“Froonjian added, “Going off on my own was scary, but through the company I started off with, I developed a good relationship with the founder. In fact, he took me under his wing. I learned a lot and eventually earned the President’s Award for several years straight before he sold the company. Long story short – when he sold the company, he issued me stock in the new company which I ultimately used to start my own business.”
Over time, Froonjian built a business in New Jersey – then under a different name – that employed nearly 30 people. His ex-wife’s parents moved to Flagler County which prompted him to buy a property in the area and open a second office. He spent several years traveling back and forth between the two offices before selling the New Jersey office and permanently moving to Florida in 2011.
By the mid 2010’s, CoreTranz was a well-established business with clients in several states. Working through a handful of challenges including changes in industry regulations and technology, Froonjian has always relied on his professionalism and honesty to set himself and his business a part from the competition.
“Unfortunately, there are some bad professionals in this business,” he said. “By simply being there for our clients and being honest, we’re able to attract and retain a lot of business. We’re also direct – which means, unlike a bank, our services aren’t farmed out to a third party – and we’re able to offer low price guarantees. Being sponsored by well-known financial institutions is also a plus.”
Since the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic, CoreTranz has lost about 19% of their clients. Restaurants and retail – some of the hardest hit businesses – produce dozens of credit card transactions per hour. The impact of these business closures has caused Froonjian to refocus his strategy and find new ways to reach other businesses.
“We’re going through a rebuilding stage right now,” he said. “We’re looking at our marketing programs, social media presence, website and even our infrastructure. However, despite the challenges with the industry and, especially with COVID-19, I thoroughly enjoy the social engagement with my clients and getting to know them beyond a professional level. I have many clients that have been with us for over 20 years.”
Looking ahead, Froonjian is focused on ramping up the business to pre-pandemic levels. As he looks to rebuild the business, he’s intent on developing a new foundation of clients. He’s also focused on building his team. To that end, Froonjian stressed the importance of growing with the right employees – those that are honest, responsible and trustworthy.
What advice does Froonjian have for aspiring entrepreneurs? “I often discuss this with other business owners,” he said. “In fact, we talk about it a lot. I would tell people that if they’re looking to get into business, to find something they’re interested in and passionate about. Then, start off slow and don’t do too much too fast. Also, it’s important to put the right team in place to take care of your business.”