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Abt, P.C. Richard Pleased With NATM Reunion

3/03/2010 04:51:00 PM Eastern
SMITHTOWN, N.Y. — P.C. Richard & Son and Abt Electronics are happy to be back with their former buying group, the NATM Buying Corp., and NATM is glad to have them, company executives told TWICE.

The two leading regional dealers rejoined the CE and appliance group March 1 after a 16-year absence for P.C. Richard and a seven- year absence for Abt.

“There is an advantage to being able to have open discussions with a bunch of friends in the same industry who are facing the same challenges we do on a daily basis,” said P.C. Richard president Gregg Richard, whose 57-store chain has been unaffi liated since leaving NATM during the mid 1990s.

“We’re happy to be back in NATM,” echoed Abt president Mike Abt, who had been a member of the Progressive Retailers Organization (PRO Group), a buying group for specialty A/V dealers.

The two dealers will add about $2 billion in revenue to NATM, giving the group approximately $5 billion in sales.

“We’re happy to have them back,” said NATM president and executive director Bill Trawick. “It gives us a much bigger voice as we move forward, and strengthens our position to negotiate with manufacturers and compete with national chains.”

Trawick acknowledged that P.C. Richard, like other NATM members, may not participate in all group programs given its size and clout with vendors. “But it goes beyond buying,” he said, pointing to the best practices and other strategic information that the dealers share.

Richard concurred. “We didn’t necessarily rejoin NATM to better our buying,” he said. More important to the family-owned business are operational issues such as distribution and delivery systems, advertising and media efficiencies, Internet strategies, and insurance and health benefits, in addition to merchandising matters.

Richard stressed, “The personal relationships we have build and nurtured with manufacturers are more important than any group, and we plan to continue those relationships and make them even stronger.”

Abt, another family-owned CE and majap dealer, operates out of a single 37-acre facility in the Chicago suburb of Glenview, Ill. The company left NATM following a change in a core merchandising program, and had been a member of PRO Group since.

“We’ll miss the PRO Group because they’re a bunch of great guys, but we’re looking forward to being in our old group again,” Abt said. “It’s a tough industry, and it seemed like the right decision for us.”

PRO does not support major appliance programs, Trawick noted, and the opportunity to rejoin NATM opened last spring following the departure of regional rival Grant’s.

The additions bring NATM’s membership to 12, following the recent closure of Bernie’s. Abt’s departure from PRO was that group’s second member loss in February, after Myer- Emco announced plans to close.
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