CPA Turns to Toys and TVs to Help Him Compete

Wooing customers away from the giants of the tax preparation industry is never easy, but one creative CPA in Tennessee is hoping toy trains, Teletubbies and teddy bears will give him an edge.

Stephen Nestor, with four children of his own, knows how hard it is to cart the kids from activity to activity while also running the necessary, but boring, errands of everyday life — filing taxes, for one.

"My wife can't seem to go anywhere without taking kids with her," Nestor told the Tennessean. "We have two little children, so we know how tough it can be to juggle."

So when Nestor set up his new tax business, U.S. Express Tax Service in West Nashville, he kept frazzled parents, and their restless children, in mind.

His front lobby is filled with a train table, toys, books and a TV showing children’s videos, with the hope that his family-friendly atmosphere will attract parents from the surrounding area. Even his logo is kid-friendly: It’s a fast-moving, multicolored freight train inspired by his train-obsessed 3-year-old, Samuel.

Nestor figures customers will spend at least 15 or 20 minutes with a tax preparer. "In that time period, the child can play in the front part of the store."

His welcoming attitude toward children is just one way Nestor believes he can set himself apart from the competition — the formidable H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt. While Nestor called the companies "leaders in the industry," he also noted that they are straying from their original focus by selling mortgages and 401(k)s. "I think that’s turning off a lot of people. We’re going to focus on tax preparation," he said.

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