John Cosby- Using entrepreneurship to create opportunities

John Cosby, Owner of CozBee Wireless

John Cosby is the Owner of Cozbee Wireless cell phone stores. Headquartered at 2319 Eastern Blvd and celebrating their 10 year anniversary, CozBee Wireless currently has 11 locations that services over 30,000 regular customers electronically and throughout the region. The CozBee Wireless motto is ANY PHONE, ANY NETWORK, NO CONTRACTS. They are able to take virtually any phone on the market, regardless of provider and activate it on a nationwide, unlimited, non-contract monthly plan starting at $29.95.

John was involved in entrepreneurship at an early age when he worked at family-owned businesses and did the typical lawn service, candy stand type businesses. Selling has always been in his DNA  and became his obsession, which is evident to this current day. During his high school years, he would become known for selling candy/snacks and for selling the latest music on the market. He would carry a case full of cassettes from the hottest artists like Ice Cube, LLCoolJ, Tupac, Scarface, Dr. Dre, Too Short, UGK and sell them for $10 each.

After graduation, John began his employment with the Department of Defense as an enlistee in the U.S. Navy. During his initial term, he served as a Radar Technician until receiving a Reserve Officers Training Corp (ROTC) scholarship to enter Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA. To earn extra cash in college, he started selling college-themed apparel at major sporting and entertainment events around the South. During the summer months, he also teamed up with a local merchandising company and excelled in a door-to-door sales position where he received corporate recognition as a top salesperson.

After completing his Finance degree from Morehouse College and receiving an Air Force commission from Georgia Institute of Technology, Cosby held a variety of financial management positions at Maxwell-Gunter AFB.  During his military tenure, he was assigned to the Base Accounting Division, served as Officer in Charge (OIC) of the Vendor Pay and Travel sections, and within 4 yrs promoted to Chief Finance Officer (CFO). As CFO, John was responsible for all aspects of financial management for three divisions, 39 Information Technology (IT) contracts, accounted for over 60 military members, DOD civilians and contractors. His last assignment as Support Commander at the Air Force Recruiting Squadron, Cosby led a team of 15 military and civilians responsible for the support of over 100 personnel in the areas of logistics, information management, personnel, finance and computer systems administration.

In 2004, Cosby officially formed his company after purchasing, remodeling and operating a family owned business in Marion, AL. One year later, Cosby purchased his second location; an existing Chevron gas station in downtown Selma, AL, all while continuing to fulfill his active duty obligations to the Air Force. Cosby reinvested over 150K reimaging, upgrading and modernizing both locations, e.g. new signage, electrical upgrades, repainting throughout, new flooring, new refrigeration equipment, repaving parking lot.  Since its inception, the business has evolved, expanded tremendously, and has generated a wealth of good fortune for Mr. Cosby and the local community.

Cosby’s first taste of the wireless industry came in 2005 when he contacted ALLTEL wireless and was approved to become an Authorized wireless retailer. Tinkering on the borderline of being disapproved, he had to build and upgrade his facilities to adhere to ALLTEL’s corporate specifications. Not long after the ALLTEL approval, Cosby was also approved to sell SOUTHERNLinc phones and service, a regional provider with push-to-talk capabilities that was very popular among first responders. Being able to provide these types of services to a rural and under-served part of the state was a great launching pad for his wireless business. They were able to acquire and manage hundreds of new business accounts with the local community and were awarded several government contracts by different municipalities throughout the region.

The Alltel wireless store became the prime community location for cell phone service along with additional services such as UHAUL rentals, Bill Pay, Budget Home phones, and Western Union Money services. These additional services drove tremendous traffic and interest to the business.

Eager to commit to entrepreneurship full time, Cosby voluntarily separated and was honorably discharged from the Air Force after 10 years of military service. In 2009, they relocated the entire business to Montgomery, became independent,  and gave birth to their 1st CozBee Wireless Montgomery location on Atlanta Hwy. (next to Shell gas station). Through the years, the business philosophy has constantly evolved to stay on pace with today’s ever-changing market demands. What started out as primarily an alternative to Verizon service has grown into a full line of wireless products and unlimited no-contract wireless service of any of the Top 4 Nationwide carriers.

Being unique to the industry combined with innovative technical savvy enables CozBee to activate virtually ANY phone in today’s market. They offer a wide variety of unlocked Iphones and Samsung Galaxy smartphones that can be used with any carrier; unlike any of their non-contract wireless competition.

CozBee incorporated several new services into its business model that were previously only offered by national contract-based carriers, such as Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and TMobile. Services included the free phone program, phone leasing, 1yr extended warranties, and cellphone insurance options. CozBee Wireless was also recognized and the #1 Charter Authorized Retailer in the State of Alabama, offering phone,cable and internet services to our existing customers.  

Today, Cozbee Wireless has revolutionized the regional wireless market and is recognized in the top 5% of Page Plus non-contract wireless dealers in the nation. Page Plus offers a cost effective alternative to Verizon contract customers while operating on the same nationwide Verizon network. They also offer unlimited data to customers without any overage fees or hidden charges. CozBee has an active database of very satisfied repeat customers in the local area where the average person experiences a 30-50% decrease in their monthly bill for the exact same service.

In 2014, Mr, Cosby trademarked the company’s name and started a franchise program engaging in the sell of Franchises to operate a CozBee Wireless store. Six of the current 11 CozBee Wireless stores are franchise-owned locations. Two of the current Franchise owners are previous employees of the company. Although owning and operating a wireless business isn’t for everyone Mr Cosby tries very hard to train, mold, and mentor his current team into becoming “owners”. He feels that the simple idea of wanting to become an owner is the key factor in accelerating the growth and development of an individual and their community. When an employee expresses interest in the steps toward ownership it instantly make the employee become more productive, stronger, proactive and goal-oriented.

CozBee Wireless will be expanding their franchise ownership opportunities where their role is to put you in business and keep you there — profitable!  A proven system and concept that works, site selection assistance, protected territories, initial and an on-going training program, detailed marketing plans, a complete and comprehensive Operations Manual and a continuous management consultation are all part of our services to help ensure your success.

John Cosby with wife and children.

CozBee Wireless is hosting a Free Young Entrepreneur’s Leadership and Life Skills Seminar (YELLS)  July 17-19th for young men ages 17-22. With over 15 years of experience,  Mr Cosby has had the opportunity to work with, mentor, and counsel hundreds of boys and girls, men and women in our community.  The one thing that he thinks is missing is the presence of entrepreneurial role models. More important than entrepreneurial role models, our community lacks the much needed presence of business mentors that they can actually relate to.  The education system has not always promoted the concept of entrepreneurship and focused mainly of getting a “good” job and being a good employee. It is nothing wrong with getting a good job but he think there should be more of a push toward business ownership so that we can keep money in our community longer and eventually take back and rebuild our neighborhoods internally. 1 out of every 10 Asian American owns a business compared to 1 out of every 158 African Americans.  

The YELLS seminar’s goal is to shed light on business ownership, lucrative occupations and blue collar career fields that does not require a traditional 4 year college degree. If you take a closer look, African American communities all around the country are all plagued with the same issues primarily stemming from economics. With the exception of beauty/barbershops and funeral homes, we don’t have a true monopoly on any other business sectors in our communities. Although we have a large number of folk in our community with specialized skills such as realtors, auto mechanics, welders, plumbers, electricians, HVAC technicians, lawn service/landscapers, masonry/concrete contractors, we are still underrepresented when it comes to business ownership. We are still being trained to work for someone else.

In YELLS, we will discuss creating and developing an “entrepreneur mindset”. You can’t grow and scale your business alone, therefore we will talk about attracting and building the right team.  Discussions will include the awesome benefits of business ownership if an individual can get past the first 3-5 years of trying to build and establish their brand. Other benefits such as the unlimited earning potential, taking advantage of tax incentives, being in control of your own time and destiny, and most importantly providing jobs opportunities and giving back to your community. Any young man who would like to attend and may benefit from this Free YELLS Seminar, go  click on the “seminar” tab to register.

John met his best friend and lifelong partner, Kiana, while attending college in Atlanta. She graduated from Spelman College with a degree in Chemistry. After graduating, they were married and were blessed with 4 beautiful children…Jahnaya, Janese, John and James. Kiana has been there since Day 1 and has held virtually every position possible within the company. According to Mr. Cosby, she is the one constant in a journey that has been ever-changing.

All rights reserved, Gumptown Magazine. Copyright, 2019.


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