HTSA, Nationwide Form "Game-Changing Strategic Alliance"
NASHVILLE- In a major bit of news on the opening afternoon of HTSA's spring conference here, Home Technology Specialists of America (HTSA) managing director Bob Hana announced that the buying group has formed a "game-changing strategic alliance" with Nationwide Marketing Group.
As both Hana and a group of executives from Nationwide made clear both during the presentation and in a press briefing afterward, the tie-up is not a merger but rather an alliance, and HTSA will remain an independent entity. And as part of it, the Nationwide division formerly known as Specialty Electronics Nationwide will now be known as Home Technology Specialists of Nationwide (HTSN.)
"Effective today, HTSA has formed a strategic alliance with the #1 largest marketing organization in this country, the Nationwide Marketing Group," Hana told the conference. He tied the deal to the rise of the connected home, the need to bring that market to scale, and the upcoming 20th anniversary of HTSA.
"When you want to be number one in a market, which we are in our space, and you want to make sure you're dominant, you partner with someone who is also number one," Hana said. "So together, we're going to enter this market and we're going to change the face of this industry to ensure that we're specialists in this marketplace, that we're number one in this space, and that there are people out there to serve the masses when these things all get connected and they need services and support and network support and you name it. So that you guys are successful for the next 20 years."
Among other benefits, the deal will give HTSA members access to programs offered by Nationwide.
Hana said after the announcement that the deal was the culmination of a discussion process lasting around five months, one that was initiated by the Nationwide side.
“It’s rare to find such a unique opportunity in which members from both organizations are able to leverage the strengths of the other in order to capture the most available share in this space. These complimenting benefits showcase just how powerful this alliance will be for our retailers," Tom Hickman, Senior VP Electronics at Nationwide, said in the official announcement of the deal.
HTSA members were informed of the news Tuesday morning, and dealers we spoke with were positive about the deal. Ken Paulson of Paulson's Audio and Video in Michigan said that dealers held an informal vote of confidence in the deal, which passed easily.
Others looked forward to the opportunities made possible by the alliance.
"For years, I've been trying to figure out how to take advantage of those benefits but not lose my place [in HTSA]," David Wexler, owner of The Little Guys in the Chicago area, said in an interview Thursday. Now, he can do both.
Also on the opening day of the conference, Hana announced that HTSA has added three new retail members- ResCom Integration, Hoyt Stereo and Digital Home Systems- and three new vendors- Thorens, TIDAL and WhyReboot- since its last meeting. He also said that, to celebrate its 20th anniversary next year, HTSA will hold its 2016 spring conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico.