Lifestyle takes alternate approach

Saturday, May 1, 2004

DALLAS - Lifestyle Innovations filed its quarterly report in March - a narrative that revisits missteps the company has experienced over the past year.

In the last 12 months, the company has played a part in a number of failed transactions. It acquired FutureSmart, a structured-wiring manufacturer which it later sold to Honeywell, and saw its deal with HomeSync, a systems integrator, fall through. Due in part to these dealings, Lifestyle, a single-source home automation company, reported a working capital deficit of $6.3 million in its quarterly report.

Despite these setbacks, President and acting Chief Executive Officer Paul Johnson is confident that the company’s reorganization will put the company back on track.

“Lifestyle has basically gone through a regroup,” Johnson said. “We’ve had some missteps that we have learned a lot from.”

The mistakes, Johnson said, stemmed from a string of rash decisions while attempting to establish the company as a franchise-based organization. The franchise model has now been replaced by a business plan that focuses on acquiring quality companies.

“What we’re doing now is taking a different tack,” Johnson said. “Instead of hoping against hope and making an acquisition too quickly, I’m willing to take a much more conservative approach.”

The business outlook is not the only thing that has changed. Ron Pitcock, who joined the company as CEO in November 2003 from HomeSync, resigned on January 1, leaving Johnson to fill the management void.

Today, Lifestyle is poised to move forward. Johnson noted that the company is looking at partnership opportunities with companies, specifically electrical and security contractors, in key demographic areas such as Florida, Utah and New Jersey.

Johnson was tight-lipped on naming other businesses Lifestyle may be interested in acquiring, but he did mention that he is currently looking at purchasing two Lifestyle franchises - a letter of intent to purchase LST Baltimore was announced in mid-April.

Regardless of what lies ahead, Johnson remains cautiously optimistic on the company’s future.

“We’ve got a huge amount of work ahead of us,” Johnson said.