MJ Talks to….Dennis Holzer, Executive Director, The PowerHouse Alliance
Maureen Jenson: Would you provide a brief background of The PowerHouse Alliance?
Dennis Holzer: PowerHouse started as 10 members in November 2009. Today, we have 13 members. Of the original 10, eight are still active. Together, our 13 members cover all 50 states with 39 conveniently located warehouses across the country with more than 400 people in sales and support.
While we are typically classified as a national distributor, PowerHouse is different. Our biggest strength is that we have 13 members who do the same thing, but 13 different ways as a result of the differences in the territories they each serve. We truly have a national footprint with a local touch.
MJ: The consumer electronics industry is complex and constantly changing. What are the biggest trends your group is witnessing? What challenges do they bring, and how are your members confronting those challenges?
Holzer: The biggest trend is that there are less CE video manufacturers. While the TV is still the go-to product for the home theater, the home theater business continues to be extremely competitive and evolving. Profits have been compressed, and, as a result, we need to find alternatives to make up for the compression in the TV industry. If you go back a few years, you always had a step-up $5,000–$6,000 TV. Over the last few years you have not had that go-to product. The equivalents are now $1,000 or less, but that is still not a level where every consumer is interested. We have to find alternatives. New 4K and OLED products are hitting the market, which will help.
Today, if you drew three circles to represent the consumer electronics industry, they would be home theater, automation and security. They may all intersect, or not, depending on what level the consumer wants to enter. For example, most consumers have a security system. But are they interested in surveillance to monitor the home inside and out from afar? Then there is the automation aspect. Is the consumer interested in raising the blinds remotely, controlling lights and thermostats from afar?
All of this allows the people like us—the wholesalers—to offer diverse menus, and serve a wider variety of dealers.
MJ: What do you do as a group to anticipate and meet your dealers’ needs?
Holzer: As I mentioned, our 13 members may have the same goal, but they each do this very differently, mostly due to the varying degrees of terrain in each territory. In the West, for example, our members see their dealers far more as they can easily visit their locations to pick up product. But from the Midwest East and Southeast, most products are shipped because of traffic, terrain and more.
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