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  • bugun film izlemek icin netflix diyoruz ya, ondan once de bu kaset kiralama isinde alemin krali blockbuster firmasi vardi. peki blockbuster'dan once kim vardi. iste erol's vardi.

    erol's 80'lerde amerika'da 200 kusur dukkan ile faaliyet gosteren video kaset kiralama isi yapan firma, video club iste. 90'larin basinda dukkanlarini blockbuster'a satip cekiliyor bu alandan. sonra blockbuster alip yuruyor.

    firmanin kurucusu ise turkiye'den gocen erol onaran adli eski bir televizyon tamircisi. doneminde video king olarak anilacak kadar bu islerde onemli bir isim.

    meraklisina su makaleyi birakalim.

    "erol onaran, the sultan of sonys, has lost his identity and been subsumed by his business. even his employees refer to him as erol's, as if his name came with an apostrophe permanently affixed to it. [p] as the chairman of the board, ceo, and chief tinkerer of erol's, ıncorporated, onaran owns nine tv stores and about 190 video stores with a million members. but his isn't your typical immigrant success story--the one in which a young boy washes up on the american shore with a sawbuck and a dream. onaran had no dream, just an instinct for business and survival. his ascent to the top was, well, a magic carpet ride. the good news is that he guessed which carpet would fly. the bad news is that when it finally glides to earth, it may bring him down, too. [p] "there's very little to say. you know the story," he says in one of the lengthier sentences he reluctantly manages to squeeze out. [p] for those who don't know the story, onaran left his native turkey 29 years ago and landed in washington with $16 in his pocket. that $16 has become $161 million--his company's gross revenues in 1988--and what's happened in between is pure americana. onaran began classes at the technical engineering ınstitute, but he had to drop out because his dollar-an-hour job didn't pay enough to meet the tuition. soon he was repairing stereos and television sets. the expertise he acquired begat a television-repair shop, then several more. further experiments with tv gadgetry convinced him that vcrs held untapped sales potential. before long his video stores' bright red-and-yellow logo could be seen all over the area, and onaran had become rich. [p]ın america, such sudden successes are often accompanied by radical changes in lifestyle. perfectly normal people seem to develop a need for gilded toilet seats. but not onaran. he still entertains in the basement of his suburban split-level in springfield, where he clobbers guests at ping-pong, then rolls up the rug, cranks up the stereo, and boogies beneath what friends say is a spinning disco light. he eschews the power-lunch crowd in favor of the arlington asian network that shares his work ethic. ın short, he's the same simple man he's always been. so why isn't anyone cheering? [p] "ıt's a cigar-box mentality," says a former erol's executive who now works for blockbuster video. blockbuster, an aggressive florida-based company, is the nation's top-grossing chain, and it plans to open at least 40 outlets in the washington area. "ı like erol," the executive says, "but he was running a multi-million-dollar business out of a cigar box."

    "ı do have a strategy," says onaran, "[built] on customer satisfaction, visibility, and accessibility. erol's is a convenience store, like 7-eleven. why do you go to a 7-eleven? because you know it, because it keeps long hours, and most of all, because there's always one around the corner."

    such a deceptively simple game plan omits a few details about onaran's success. for one thing, he's always been an entrepreneur. he foresaw the popularity of color televisions when they were still an expensive oddity and geared his shops to sell them. he's beaten his competition with innovation. he anticipated the service-contract boom and became one of the only retailers besides sears to sell warranties that guaranteed on-site tv repair. he also installed computerized store checkout equipment that he designed himself.

    but many say that onaran's approach is amateurish and weak. one executive asserts that onaran's ideas represent little more than the fine-tuning of a common sense approach to pleasing the customer. "his idea of long-range planning," the executive says, "is figuring out what to do next month."

    onaran puts it another way. "trial and error," he says deliberately. "ı look at other people's ideas and try them. ıf they work, ı give them all my support."

    but now erol's competitors are stealing onaran's tricks and using them to make inroads into what had been his market. erol's has certainly felt the heat. company progress charts comparing last year's daily hardware sales to this year's show a significant--sometimes 25 percent or more--drop.

    "erol's approach was great in a monopoly," says a current employee, "but in a free market, he was out of step."

    but that's onaran. everyone interviewed for this story agrees that he's a "my way or the highway" man. he'll proceed cautiously, then bolt. another former erol's employee acknowledges, with more than a trace of sarcasam, that onaran doesn't spend any time mapping corporate strategy. "yes, he's decisive. you can be decisive when you have an uncluttered mind."

    still, that uncomplicated mind has made jobs for some 3,700 employees. "you know," onaran says, "ı worked harder than anybody. when you're the best, you can do what you want. when you're the best, you get your freedom. ı wanted mine."

    freedom for onaran means time in atlantic city playing blackjack. he is, a friend says, a moderate gambler who plays cautiously and is a superb card-counter. but of course onaran's at home with numbers. ıt's his compulsive computer tinkering that's kept erol's customers moving rapidly through the turnstiles.

    the convenience factor is onaran's forte, and it's been very good to him, but it can't protect him from the competition. erol's has recently had to close three television-sales stores, consolidate another, cut back on new store openings, and lay off more than 30 employees. meanwhile, managers at blockbuster say they're doing just fine in washington, thank you, with 10 stores open almost around the clock.

    the fight for local video supremacy has also forced erol's to hire a new vice president who specializes in franchising, a practice that's helped blockbuster but that erol's has eschewed until now. and onaran has set aside $5 million for advertising this year--a record amount, but one that pales beside blockbuster's $16 million advertising budget.

    there are more changes in the wind, employees say. as erol's new president, robert morlick, begins to assert control over the company, more layoffs are expected. onaran has reluctantly agreed to the cutbacks, but he insists on taking care of those he lets go. ıf the expected reduction-in-force occurs, severance for many will include two months' salary plus two weeks' for every year the employee has been with erol's.

    but workers who don't fear dismissal fear something else: that onaran will eventually tire of the competition and sell out. and they may have a point. "ı don't want to run a company that takes 100 percent of my time anymore," onaran says with a sigh. "ı have to enjoy what ı do or it's not worth doing."

    "see what ı mean?" says another erol's defector. "onaran's genius is inside innovation, something he understands and can do probably better than anyone he's hired. think of him as a hell of an auto mechanic who makes some changes in the motor and then suddenly becomes the head of chrysler. that's fine until general motors comes along. blockbuster--that's his general motors."

    give him credit, adds the defector. "he's flown real far by the seat of his pants. but the competition's flying a 747."

    true, but 747s have been known to crash more often than magic carpets."

    mundy, alicia. "erol onaran." regardie's magazine sept. 1989: 104+. business ınsights: essentials.