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It's rockin' business

by Jill Andrew

 

Young entrepreneurs find groove in their music chain

 

These music trade innovators are pros at turning someone's trash into another person's treasure.

   Many CDs ago, friends Shameer Esmail, Aziz Walji and Hussein Musa knew a punch-in, punch-out kind of job wasn't for them. Sporting University of Waterloo math and engineering degrees and a love of music, the put their collective genius to the ultimate test and began Deja Vu Discs.

   Skipping a few tracks to the present, these three young entrepreneurs in just an eight-year period have gone from a small Oshawa store to an eight-store corporate chain with locations also in North York, Pickering, Richmond Hill, Ajax, Scarborough, and Markham.

  For Walji, the business involves more than sales. "Money talks for any business. However it's also about making that money where your customers are."

   With genres ranging from rock and roll to R&B and everything in between, Deja Vu Discs caters to every customer - even ones with the hard-to-find import requests.

   A high-tech, software scanning system developed by the entrepreneurs keeps the prices fair and square. "You can't buy the scanner on the shelves," says Walji. "It scans the item barcode (used or otherwise) and pays you according to the barcode reading of supply/demand trends for the specific ite,."

   All you need are your CDs, DVDs or games case and photo ID, and the trio say they pay you top dollar without guess work or bartering.

   Deja Vu Discs also has a 30-day guarantee of "risk-free buying" - something they say their competitors don't have. Items are checked for defects and shipped for restoring if necessary before being sold.

   "Customers supply the goods, customers buy the goods - it's a full circle," Walji says. "It's always to our advantage to make our customers happy."

   Happiness includes hiring staff members who are music fans. Scarborough location's Matthew Flook, pianist/vocalist of the Matthew Flook Pop Orchestra is no exception. "We relate to our staff, treat them fairly and bank on their connection with customers," says Musa.

   Becoming an entrepreneur takes work, says Musa. "It is essential to have realistic goals, a detailed business plan, and strong finances. Business plans are not always followed - disagreements will happen. The bank is not your only option for financing. Flexibility is key. you need to utilize government plans and family/friends if possible - especially for younger, greener entrepreneurs. As for surviving the first few years, keep all costs as low as possible. Hard time will roll around but giving up is not an option towards success."

   For more details visit dejavudiscs.com .


Publication: Metro Toronto; Date: 2003 Dec 02

Original Newspaper scan (310K) - HERE
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