Deborah Smith

This PARA dealer's store and home were devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Today, however, he looks forward to a brighter future. By Jay Valentino New Orleans is my home. For four generations, my family has meticulously restored and operated three hotels in the historic French Quarter. But the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 challenged us all in ways we hadn't imagined possible. The vast majority of the Crescent City's inhabitants—80 percent of the housing in New Orleans was substantially damaged or destroyed—is still struggling to recover, six months after the largest disaster in U.S. history, and as the Gulf Coast enters another hurricane

Sales Training that's a Phone Call Away By Natalie Hope McDonald Don't tell her the dog ate your homework, because Tracy Verrall, trainer for PARA's Get Clients NOW! program, won't believe it. This native Canadian is heading the phone-based seminar program designed to improve marketing and sales on a case-by-case basis. The goal belongs to PARA, the industry organization that set out to tackle what's been described as an underserved inside sales market. Based on C.J. Hayden's book by the same name, Get Clients NOW! is broken into several steps that involve teleconferences and independent work. According to Verrall, participants set

PARA Improves on Natural Selection with "Survival of the Fittest" By David Dritsas Uncertain economic times have a tendency to spur references to Darwin's theories of evolution. But these references are often framed in negative terms, and miss evolution's most basic premise, which is that "survival of the fittest" is based on positive adaptation. If any business is susceptible to the elements of change, it is retailing, so perhaps it's no surprise that this year's Professional Audio/Video Retailers Association (PARA) conference, held in climate-friendly Miami, Florida, preached the mantra of Darwin. While trimming costs and operational expenses are helpful retailing strategies, the

Will Giants Take Your Business? By Ron Goldberg AVI Electronics, a small, New Jersey-based C-tailer specializing in custom installation for home and auto, had it nice for a while. Situated on a busy highway with enviable visibility, the single-store operation had the good fortune of not only serving a relatively affluent suburban market, but also of being nestled among a row of car dealerships, virtually guaranteeing a steady flow of mobile installation business. When the store began operations in 1992, the closest CE chain was miles away, CEDIA was a toddler and the custom-install market rarely extended past commercial work, or the occasional bigwig's

By Deborah Smith Executive Director, Professional Audio/Video Reatilers Association (PARA) Wherever CE specialty and custom dealers gather these days, the most widely discussed and highly charged topic of conversation can be summed up in one word: distribution. Over the past several years, dramatic changes have rocked the traditional rep and distribution practices for the regional marketplace. As a result, the new landscape that determines how products are sold, by whom, to whom and for how much, is demanding a complete rethinking of brand positioning, brand loyalty, and market strategy. All four cardinal points of the CE chain — dealers, reps, distributors and vendors

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