Miscellaneous

What kind of a year has it been for you?
December 1, 2005

What kind of a year has it been for you? And why do I want to know? 'Cause I'm 2005, that's why, and my 365-day run is just about history. I'd like to know how I did so I can give the next guy, 2006, a leg up, based on the benefit of my experiences. In general, I wasn't a quiet year, what with all the natural and unnatural disasters and all the troubles overseas. It seemed there was something new to worry about during every one of my weeks—and I'm not even talking about your C-tailing businesses. You know very well, without my

I Bet You'll Find This Amusing?
December 1, 2005

By Ira Friedman Several weeks ago, the good guys! stores in my neighborhood closed their doors for good. Oh, I'm sorry…I'm mistaken. They didn't close for good—they're reopening as "boutiques" inside those fabulous CompUSA stores. So I walked into my local CompUSA to see the new "good guys! inside" section. It's a few aisles of plasmas and assorted A/V gear, merchandised with the same spectacular attention to detail for which CompUSA is known the world over. After years of the good guys! dominating the A/V market in California, it's come to this: A few shelves of product in the back of a

Media Center Doesn't Meet Our Standards
December 1, 2005

By Joe Calise To Media Center, or not to Media Center? That's this year's big question. Do we jump on the bandwagon or not? I personally have mixed feelings about it. We wonder, like many C-tailers do, if Windows Media Center is something that our customers will be looking to us to deliver or carry. When I was offered the opportunity to become a dealer for one of the manufacturers that is making its own hardware for the Media Center platform, I took advantage of the opportunity to explore my options and see what Media Center was all about. Let's face it: If

The Race to Zero
October 1, 2005

You won't be able to count on big flat panel margins to sustain your business for much longer. It's time to distinguish yourself in the marketplace. By Robert Ain Let's face it—many custom retailers have enjoyed a free ride the last couple of years when it comes to sales of video displays. Never before has such a large group of consumers been willing to pay such high prices for televisions. Many dealers are selling fewer customers more expensive items, especially the video display. And why not? HDTVs, particularly of the flat panel variety, are a white-hot aspirational product category, and the margins have been

Leading by Example
October 1, 2005

HiFi House capitalizes on its work for a Philadelphia-area builder's showcase design home By Janet Pinkerton Philadelphia-area custom retailer HiFi House is riding a wave of publicity surrounding its work on Philadelphia magazine's Design Home 2005, an 8,000-square-foot traditional Colonial farmhouse located in a new development in West Chester, Pa. West Chester is the county seat of Chester County, a historically rural area west of Philadelphia that is undergoing a major boom in upscale exurban development. Public tours of the home, built by Thompson Homes, also of West Chester, took place from September 10 to October 2. Tickets cost $20, and all proceeds benefited

CEDIA EXPO 2005
October 1, 2005

Thoughts, vibes, trends and a farewell to Indianapolis By Joe Paone CEDIA EXPO 2005, the 16th annual installment, drew over 26,000 attendees, a new record and up more than 1,000 from last year. There were over 500 exhibitors. The overwhelming theme of the show was a realization in the CEDIA community, among both dealers and manufacturers, that audio and video quality are taking a back seat to issues such as the portability and availability of content and how products fit into a room's overall décor. Some would say this was a long time coming, as even just last year, scoffing at the iPod was

Creating the Ultimate Customer Relationship
October 1, 2005

It starts with a healthy and focused You… and it builds out from there. By Dave Donald and Jeremy Burkhardt The motocross rider revs his engine, pops the clutch, dirt flies off the back tire and he heads for the ramp. He spots the landing and pulls the bike over his head and does a back flip. Oh yeah, that's right—back flipping a 200-pound motorcycle over 60 feet in the air and landing exactly where he intended to land 80 feet later. Was it easy? No. Did he get hurt this time? No. But on the road to this success over the years, many

An Open Letter to Bjorn Dybdahl
September 1, 2005

By Ira Friedman Several issues ago, Bjorn Dybdahl from Bjorn's Audio Video in San Antonio wrote a column outlining a difficult transition his company recently undertook. It made for good reading, because Bjorn was honest about his company's troubles—particularly the partial mutiny of his installation department. Seldom do I hear a dealer confront his company's managerial failings as directly as Bjorn has. For this, I commend him. And yet, the solutions Bjorn has put into place are reminiscent of those employed by other retailers facing the same situation: the fixes tend to be misguided, and usually miss the point entirely. Here's a recap of

Mitek Profiting on Self-Propelled Growth
September 1, 2005

"Mitek is a tiny little player in the land of the giants, and the giants are getting more giant," says CEO Loyd Ivey of the company he founded in 1971. Mitek Corp. started as a home audio company with two brands: MTX and American Acoustics Labs. The company has expanded without outside funding beyond the occasional bank loan, soon retired. After a flurry of acquisitions that began in the mid-1990s and ended in 2001, Mitek's mobile, home and professional brand holdings now also include DCM Loudspeakers, Musica, Atlas Sound, Xtant, Coustic and Streetwires. Each Mitek brand serves a distinct target trade market, but the

Lenbrook America The Last of the Independents?
September 1, 2005

Robert A. Brown, president and CEO of Lenbrook America, is very aware that NAD Electronics and PSB Speakers are "quickly becoming two of the last independent brands independently owned and not up for acquisition." According to Brown, Lenbrook is not looking either to sell the brands or add brands, and has so far declined equity investors—in no small part because, he says, both NAD and PSB are doing so well now thanks to major product development. "Our feeling is that our growth potential is in the multiples, not in the percentages, so we don't have a crying need for it." Sharon, Mass.-based Lenbrook America