Heartland pcAmerica

1-800-pcAmerica (1-800-722-6374)
press release

By JAY LOOMIS THE JOURNAL NEWS (Original publication: July 21, 2004)

CONGERS — Cash registers have evolved a long way from the temperamental hand-cranked antiques of the early 1900s. Just ask David Gosman, whose company is turning out smarter registers for the Internet Age that speed up checkout lines, track consumer whims and curb employee theft.

His company, pcAmerica in Congers, counts 25,000 customers using its register products in 50 states and 25 countries, whether it's small grocery stores, coffee shops, pizza parlors, Dairy Queens, car washes or restaurants.

Sales for the company's cash-register software and related products grew 27 percent last year and are on pace to rise 30 percent this year, according to the company. Revenues have grown at a double-digit pace for five years.

pcAmerica sells systems complete with computer monitors, accounting software, bar-code scanners, credit card readers and other gear to offer capabilities far beyond ringing up a transaction.

"It gives you a speedy, fast checkout," said Gosman, chief executive officer. "It also tracks inventory and customer buying patterns. The system can give you an up-to-the-minute look at what your best-selling products are and how much money you have made in the store that day. Believe it or not, a lot of businesses don't know that."

Data tracking capabilities make it easier for a store to re-order hot products. By tracking inventory discrepancies and unusual transaction patterns by cashiers — such as too much returned merchandise — the system can also help a merchant tackle employee theft. One restaurant found that pcAmerica's cash registers triggered a 25 percent jump in sales — not because of more business but because of less theft.

"A lot of times at restaurants, you will have bartenders who will give out free shots of liquor or free food," Gosman said. "They may be looking for a bigger tip. Sometimes, they are doing it for friends. But this system makes it harder for employees to get away with stealing."

At pcAmerica's small offices in an out-of-the-way complex in Congers, there is the laid-back working environment common at tech companies. Many of the 12 employees dress in blue jeans and sport shirts as they busily work on product development or customer inquires.

The company started as a computer newsletter 26 years ago and evolved into a computer catalog. The company was developing software for retailers by the mid-1980s under the leadership of Gosman's father, Howard.

"Since my dad worked in the computer field, I was involved with programming at a young age, maybe 10 years old," said David Gosman, 26. "I pretty much grew up with this business."

Earlier this month, ownership of the company passed to the next generation. David Gosman took over as CEO as he and Richard F. Rotbard, an 11-year veteran of the company who is now president, bought pcAmerica for an undisclosed price from Howard Gosman and Steve Kahan, who were partners for 15 years.

"They wanted to retire and we wanted to continue the business," Rotbard said. "We knew the business so well that it seemed a natural transition. They felt confident in our abilities to continue."

About 80 percent of the company's customers are small retailers with one to five stores or restaurants. That is a fertile market since studies have shown that small businesses create most new jobs. In addition to mom-and-pop grocers, car washes and pizza parlors, pcAmerica's roster of clients includes franchises of well-known chains: Burger King, Dairy Queen, Starbucks and Long John Silver.

The company recently beat out Microsoft Corp. to land a contract with Goodwill Industries of Oregon, Gosman said. Microsoft is one of the three major competitors for pcAmerica. The others are Micros Systems Inc. of Columbia, Md., and Aloha Technologies of Bedford, Texas.

Gosman and his staff often take a hands-on approach when it comes to product testing. When a discount store recently opened in Omaha, Neb., with a pcAmerica system, for example, Gosman was running the cash register himself to make sure everything worked smoothly.

"When he found something that helped them be more efficient, he made the changes on the spot," Rotbard said.

pcAmerica's systems can process a credit card over the Internet in two seconds, compared to 35 seconds for older systems, according to the company.

"That really makes the lines move a lot faster," Rotbard said.

Price of the systems ranges from $1,500 to $3,000 a register.

The company's specialty is the software for the cash registers. It contracts with other vendors to supply the monitors, scanners and other hardware for the registers. It also has arrangements with 2,000 dealers around the world to install the products.

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