At the PARA Roundtable: Part 1
CustomRetailer: What does it mean to be a PARA dealer in these times? What is this "PARA difference?" As a PARA dealer, how do you serve your customers in a unique way?
Vance Pflanz, president, Pflanz Electronics: I've been a PARA member for many years, and through those years, I've always felt that PARA helped me make business decisions. When I go to the conferences, I get a lot of ideas from the information that is provided as well as from other dealers. I've always felt that PARA helped me stay in business all these 50 years through the educational information it has delivered. When I first started in business, I couldn't even read a financial statement. I learned all of it at PARA.
Steve Caldero, senior vice president, COO, Ken Crane's Home Entertainment: Ken Crane's has been a PARA member for a number of years. If you go back to the company's origins, we probably wouldn't even have qualified to be a PARA dealer then because we didn't sell audio. Unlike Vance, and some of the other dealers who started in audio and migrated to video, we had been in televisions and migrated to the home theater side.
But the whole definition of PARA—the original acronym stood for Professional Audio Retailers Association—was modified to include video dealers, and then modified again to accommodate people who were integrators and didn't necessarily have a retail store. So I think the strength of PARA has been that it has managed to morph over the years as dealers' world changed.
It's a different set of circumstances out there now. Although it's a whole different world, the goals of PARA are still what Vance talked about—giving retailers the tools to run their businesses better, but also bringing them into the world of social networking, Twitter and all the other forms of Internet marketing that are out there to make sure that they have an opportunity in this electronic world to prosper and grow their businesses.