Almost half of American World War II Veterans became business owners and today sadly less than 5% of US Veterans become business owners. James Wichert, Owner and CEO of Discount Retail Store Services (DRSS) finds this unacceptable. “Those with military experience tend to be very disciplined, detail oriented and take direction well which makes them great potential business owners,” says Wichert.

Last century, a stunning 49.7 percent of World War II Veterans went on to own or operate a business, according to Syracuse University's Institute for Veterans and Military Families.

Nowadays, however, less than 5% of returning Veterans become business owners. So far, only 4.5 percent of the more than 3.6 million people who have served in the U.S. military since September 11, 2001, have launched a company, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

"The differences are so stark it's unbelievable," says Joseph Kopser, an Army veteran and co-founder of transportation app Ride­Scout. He blames a lack of in-service mentorship for current military members, saying that too many vets now "get a job and settle" rather than launching their own businesses.

The drastic changes in our economy and the vanishing of manufacturing jobs are two key factors for this large decline. Overall rates of entrepreneurship are down across the board for Veterans and non Veterans alike.

On a positive note, the policy changes the President-Elect has promised in regards to businesses in general should work as a catalyst by increasing the numbers of business owners, jobs and the economy as a whole.

And there are the usual reasons that hinder those that have wanted to run their own business for many years but haven’t. John Finley, Sales Director of DRSS, and a U.S. Navy veteran stated, “Over the 23 years that we have been in business we have found the following are the most common reasons that people do not open their own business:

  • Fear (Fear of failure, the unknown, the economy)
  • Don’t think they have any or enough experience to run a business properly
  • Don’t think they have enough capital or will be able to get funding
  • Concerned there is too much competition
  • Costs of franchises too high or they don’t like the fees and rules that come with a franchise
  • Worries about finding a good location
  • No experience with lease negotiation
  • Afraid of leaving the comfort and security of a job
  • Lack of trust in companies that can help them to open their business

Discount Retail Store Services understands these are valid concerns and came up with a 100% turnkey solution that address and overcomes all of these concerns. The owner and CEO of DRSS, James Wichert, had spent many of his younger years helping other companies to succeed and grow and in the early 90’s decided to take the leap to business ownership himself. He opened the first Dollar stores in Las Vegas and Reno, NV. Both were tremendously successful!

Wichert said, “My businesses were booming and I would often have customers come into my stores from out of state asking how I did it and if I could help them open a similar store in places like Chicago or Miami. One day, as if a light bulb came on I realized I could create a company that would help people with little or no experience to open their own businesses similar to a franchise but without all their high costs, fees and rules. My company could provide them with all the tools and training necessary for them to become successful.”

Today, almost 24 years later Wichert’s company has opened close to 4000 independent retail stores in 8 different countries so far. The store concepts they specialize in are: Dollar Stores, Party Stores, and Mailbox & Business Center Stores. Their comprehensive turnkey solution consists of the following 7 services:

  • Financing - 100% financing including working capital o.a.c, conventional and non-conventional lenders, and free credit repair in some cases
  • Site Location - assistance in finding the best sites in your area
  • Lease Negotiation - 17 key provisions in every lease to protect their clients
  • Site Build-Out - Complete build out of the store including fixtures, merchandise and more
  • Comprehensive Training - before, during and after the store opening
  • Access to their Wholesale Merchandise Network - saving their clients 20-25%
  • Unparalleled support for the lifetime of the store

4 years ago Discount Retail Store Developers partnered with Veteran’s Resource Business Centers (VRBC) as they wanted to offer their services to more veterans. VRBC is a nonprofit that offers several free and low cost business training programs such as the “Boots to Business” program and more. The President and founder of VBRC, Darcella Craven, has over 18 years of experience in operating nonprofits, corporate communications, government and military administration and training. She is a requested speaker on transitioning from military to civilian occupations. “DRSS and their staff, stated Craven, are very supportive to veterans and they offer a unique all-inclusive program that assists veterans in launching their own businesses with confidence. Their generous veteran discount in honor of their service also shows how much DRSS values those who served.”

Currently there is an average of 200,000 Veterans per year that transition back to civilian life. “Our goal, said Wichert, is to help as many Veterans as we can become successful business owners. More business owners will lead to more jobs and help the economy as well.”

“Our “Boots to Bosses” program, says Finley, assists vets from start to finish and we also provide ongoing support for the lifetime of their store(s). The program consists of our 7 services along with finding Veteran lending and grant programs that many Veterans are unaware of. We also provide Veteran discounts which saves them thousands of dollars off the regular purchase price!”

“These men and women, stated Wichert, have put their lives on the line. They have served and protected our country. Honoring their service and helping them to make their dreams of business ownership is a privilege and an honor.”

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