From Left: Phoenix Area Franchisees Jeff Stewart, Jason Duffy, Bert Hayenga. Phoenix Business Journal

Luci Scott reports in the The Arizona Republic that even as a kid, entrepreneur Bert Hayenga was making money. He worked a paper route, and he bought old boats and mini-bikes, fixed them up and sold them.

At age 15, he began work at a company that rented tents for dog shows and continued the work as a business student at Arizona State University. He and friends rented tents as Arizona Tent, Table and Chair Rentals. He bought out his friends and built up the company, which provided equipment for such activities as the Phoenix Open and Phoenix International Raceway events.

At age 27, he said, he sold the business for close to a million dollars.

Now at 47, as a partner in Phoenix-based HWK Partners, he invests in real estate and owns close to half of the 33 franchises of Dunkin’ Donuts in metro Phoenix. He also founded Creative Leather, a Chandler-based manufacturer and retailer of quality leather furniture.

“We feel we can give a better value than the other providers of upholstered leather furniture because there’s no middle man,” Hayenga said. “We make it and sell it direct.”

He saw a need for quality leather furniture that nobody else was meeting. That’s the way he gets ideas for business – by looking for gaps in the market and figuring out a way to fill them.

“I think it’s some intuition, but everywhere you go, you’re looking to see how people are operating their companies and trying to see opportunities that if you had the business, how you could do it better,” he said.

Two years ago, he relaunched Dunkin’ Donuts in the Valley.

A new Dunkin’ Donuts opened at McClintock Drive and Warner Road last week.

More are in the works.

Another will open at Via Linda and Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard in Scottsdale in October and at Broadway Road and McClintock Drive in Tempe in November.

Read more:  The Arizona Republic