Business mogul Wright Thurston maintains a long line of successful companies across many different industries. However, one of his greatest successes is an innovative retail mobile phone business called Future Phones, which he established in 1999. Founded as mobile phones were becoming affordable and more easily accessible for the general public, Future Phones used an integrated sales model of direct sales and online marketing to develop a national customer base and become one of the country’s leading distributors of AT&T Inc. and VoiceStream Wireless Inc. (now T-Mobile USA, Inc.) phones and wireless plans.
Thurston founded Future Phones as a traditional retail operation, opening kiosks and outlets in malls and supercenters throughout the state of Washington. To help run the company, devise effectual marketing approaches, and sell mobile phones and plans, Thurston recruited colleagues from his former network marketing firm and from the pest control industry, where he spent two years prior to launching Future Phones. The company achieved record growth after Thurston established an outside sales division that went directly to businesses and homes to sell mobile phone packages, bringing on board a talented team of experienced door-to-door salespeople. Realizing the cost effectiveness of this direct sales model, Thurston eventually sold off Future Phones’ retail outlets and kiosks and replaced them with an e-commerce website through which customers could browse phones and plans and purchase them online for $50 to $100 less than typical retail costs.
Future Phones’ new sales approach took off and Thurston hired distributors across the United States to market the e-commerce website and help customers with their orders. In 2002, Thurston saw another opportunity in the consumer products industry: selling home and business security units. He founded Firstline Security as a department of the company before spinning off the former into its own company. Thurston sold Future Phones in 2002 and went on to build Firstline Security into one of the nation’s foremost security installation and maintenance firms.