A large black and white picture sits in the patio area of the newly renovated World Wide Stereo in Montgomeryville, PA. The picture was hardly noticeable amidst the celebratory set up of last Thursday night’s VIP event for the new renovation, but those who happened to notice it would certainly be able to recognize the faces.
Dressed in his 70’s finest, founder Bob Cole, stands with his arm around his wife Karen. They, along with fellow original Ron Rumer, stand frozen in time at the store’s Grand Opening in the fall of 1978.
The picture is inarguably nostalgic, which is why it is perhaps a little disconcerting to see the exact same faces wandering around the store’s 2016 Grand Reopening.
Sure enough though, Bob, Ron and Karen, all still with the company, spent the night proudly showing off the store’s new aesthetics.
The store, which sells a variety of things including, high-end audio, video, home theater, lighting, shade and climate control, is now broken up into a number of different rooms and areas, all of which host a large array of products suited to that specific space. Designated areas include the patio, living room, signature sound room, den, study, bathroom, family theater, car, digital playground, common area and Kambic room amongst others.
The Kambic room hosts a variety of speakers, including indoor and outdoor sound solutions. Hidden amidst potted plants, outdoor speakers are displayed to show how they can “promote but not interrupt” the outdoor experience.
This theme seems to run through the house-like set up as most areas host a blend of both discrete and obvious sound solutions. While large minimalist looking speakers stand like a pieces of art in the center of the bedroom set-up, others blend seamlessly into the wall, appearing, at most, like an intended part of the room’s design.
To make room for the new layout, the car stereos were cleared from the store floor and replaced with representative solutions. The store’s Web site can be accessed from the car area for any customer searching for something they cannot find.
In the spirit of organization, all “excess”, including a large selection of headphones has been migrated into the digital playground area.
More expensive solutions can be found in other rooms like the Signature Sound Room where World Wide Audio’s highest quality receivers and speakers now live.
According to Bob Cole, without having to close the store, 90% of the renovation was completed within 6 weeks. When asked what remained of the original set-up, he replied, “Nothing. It’s all new.”
Thursday’s VIP event included raffle prizes and an appearance by Steve Morrison of the Preston and Steve radio show. The VIP event served as a precursor to Friday’s open event, where World Wide Stereo products and services were offered at discounted prices.
Later in the evening, Bob Cole and Ron Rumer posed for a photo op with Rumer’s son, Ryan, a new World Wide Stereo employee himself. The store also runs in Cole’s family as his daughter, Emily, serves as the store’s Director of e-commerce.
Despite the new set-up, the black and white photo of the store’s grand opening is still representative of the store. World Wide Stereo’s “Our Story” Web page sums up the combination of the company’s evolution and family-like mentality that has kept it going for so long:
In many ways, today's World Wide Stereo feels a lot like the 1979 version. (If it ain't broke...) But with the addition of e-commerce (and winner of the prestigious STELLA Service Excellent rating), two more storefronts and a growing international customer base, we've grown up some, too. Though Bob and Karen – and Ron and Mark and Kristin and Gavin and Frank, pretty much the whole original gang – are still here.
After all, why would we ever leave?