From the Trenches: Cash, Carry and Custom Audacity
Here was the plan: Open up “discount superstores” adjacent to major CE retailers; make TV’s the #1 attraction; offer the absolute lowest prices anywhere; and rapidly expand, opening up new stores every two months.
Sound like a crazy business strategy in today’s economy? Well, it’s still too early to tell. But the man behind it, Rob Hart, founder of the UltimateVisions (UV) Discount Superstore chain in Northern California, doesn’t think so.
Hart’s vision, only partially outlined above, has confounded some vendors and colleagues. But Hart, who’s opened 5 stores in the San Francisco Bay area, most in the last 12 months, maintains you can’t argue with something that’s working.
“No one’s growing as fast as we have. No one’s doing the volume we’re doing,” Hart boasted. “Right now, we’re tracking about $15 million in sales, and we should be at $25 million by the end of the year.”
Hart, an entrepreneur in more than one industry and a corporate consultant, will tell you over and over that his business strategy is much simpler than people think. He even teaches a seminar called “Success isn’t Complicated, People are Complicated.” So what’s his personal wisdom on selling CE into 2009?
“You can’t play games with customers. You give the lowest price and extraordinary service.” That, Hart said, is the plan in a nutshell.
The deployment of such a plan, of course, has a lot more to it, and Hart is building a team of experienced electronics managers and salespeople who are enthused about getting in on the ground floor.
William Arias, Hart’s regional district manager, met his boss years ago when the two were working at Video Only, a popular electronics chain with over a dozen stores in Washington, Oregon and California. Hart developed much of his business acumen working his way up in the Video Only chain.