CR Talks To: Rich Taylor, Marketing Manager, Parts Express : Surviving & Growing With Parts Express
Audio-focused distributor concentrates on servicing the integrator, providing exclusive solutions.July 2011 By Interview by Nancy Klosek
CustomRetailer: When was the company founded, and what product categories do you focus on carrying for your dealer and integrator customers?
Rich Taylor: The company was started in 1986 as a parts distribution company for consumer electronics service and repair. Primarily, in the ’80s, VCRs were popularly repaired items, and a lot of the service parts came from Parts Express. As the end product evolved into a disposable item, we decided to focus primarily on audio products. That’s our strength—anything audio. We distribute over 15,000 items, and it’s a full spectrum of products—home A/V, to finished audio products, to parts and components such as raw speaker drivers, all the way to security and surveillance equipment. We now have five or six core categories we focus on.
We also have test and measurement equipment and manufacture our own, internally developed products primarily sold under the Dayton Audio brand. One example is our OmniMic, which is a frequency measurement system developed in-house that an integrator can use to optimize the audio in a commercial or home audio environment. Under Dayton Audio, we design and develop raw speakers, in-wall and in-ceiling speakers, all the way to LCD mounts and certified HDMI cabling—about a thousand items.
A lot of companies that deal with China will merely identify a product and just put their name on it; we don’t do that. We have our own anechoic chamber so we measure the products for performance and value before we actually go into production. We’ve worked with third-party engineers such as Joe D’Appolito in designing and optimizing our products. If we have a product where we feel we need outside development, we will work hand-in-hand with industry professionals.
CR: Talk about how the products you distribute meet integrators’ needs. What it is about your lines that will help them be more profitable?
Taylor: We use our local dealers and integrators here in Ohio to help us design feature sets; they tell us what they’re trying to accomplish in their installs and we work with them on incorporating their needs. We have our own electronics line of amplifiers, sub amps and multi-channel amps for zoned audio—designed in-house.
On the speaker side, we’re very strong in subwoofers, especially low-frequency reinforcement, and we make true high-performers. We also do contract-type bundles of in-ceilng and in-wall speakers. Even with the housing market decline, we’re still strong in those areas.