One Voice: Following the Money Trail
Good news is finally starting to come in: According to the Los Angeles Times, the sales of luxury goods is on the increase. April retail comp sales over April '09 were a rise for Neiman's up 10.9 percent, Nordstrom up 7.5 percent and Saks up 3.2 percent! New home construction jumped 40.9 percent in April over the same time period last year. So at least it seems the economy is on the right track. We may not be out of the woods yet, but I've heard great success stories from many facets of our business, as people branch into the hospitality segment and continue pushing into other forms of commercial.
Joe Barrett, principal of Chicagoland's Barrett's Home Theater, just completed his inaugural hospitality job—a major-league project at the ultra-posh, five-star Elysian, which recently opened in Chicago. His advice: Get pre-paid once the contract is signed. "It's the only way to do it. In a new construction environment," he says, "you run the risk of getting upside down on holding inventory a little too long."
Andy Korobkin, manager of corporate sales for ListenUp in Denver is a veteran of many years in dealing with the lodging industry. He is also of the view that owner-occupied residences are where residential installers can best play up their expertise with owners. "My biggest successes in hospitality integration have been not in single-room installations but in multiple-room condos."
Craig Abplanalp, vice president at Seattle's Definitive Audio, defines the recently completed 38-residence project in Seattle's new Four Seasons Hotel as anything but hospitality work. "On that project," he says, "all 38 residences had our backbone installed as a standard feature. We did integration of window coverings, HVAC, lighting control, audio/video—we did installation and motorization of the window coverings tied into a Crestron control system in the private residences and the common areas."
All of these gentlemen have a myriad of advice starting on page 28.
And last but certainly not least, a heartfelt thanks to all at SIM2 who allowed us the privilege of having a discussion with Francis Ford Coppola. For the full story, check out page 16. I think Glendon O'Brien of Novidor & Firestone expressed the business side best when he said, "Our best customers are adding services and categories that extend their value into more customers homes. Let's use projectors as an example. Selling projectors instead of low-margin flat screens is a challenge because of the usage model, but it is also an opportunity to provide a different and better experience for the consumer."