Cherry Hill, N.J. - National CE and appliance distributor Almo kicked
off its annual four-city convention series here this week with its Mid-Atlantic
The regional road show and training exposition provides the
company's dealer, e-tailer, custom installer and system integrator customers with
hands-on access to the latest products, free skill and technology trainings,
doorbuster show specials, one-on-one meetings and peer networking events.
The Mid-Atlantic leg, held May 22-23 at the Crowne Plaza just
outside Philadelphia, drew crowds to the 35-brand exhibition floor and extensive
product training sessions. The latter were extended to two days in response to
dealer demand, with Frigidaire and Samsung providing appliance programs on
Tuesday, and Panasonic, Samsung and Sharp focusing on CE on Wednesday.
Despite special Expo pricing on TVs, major appliances, audio
equipment and accessories, president/COO Warren Chaiken said the regional
events primarily serve as educational forums, rather than buying shows, and "an
opportunity for our customers to talk to manufacturers directly," he told
Almo also uses the expos to introduce new services, such as a
mobile app for Almo Access, the distributor's customer portal. Newly available on Android, with an Apple
version to follow shortly, the app will allow customers to access inventory,
check availability, and view webinars, videos and other training materials on
Chaiken described the current marketplace as "choppy,"
reflecting consumer concern over Europe's finances, the upcoming presidential
election, and stubbornly high gasoline prices, which he labeled "a hidden tax."
But dealers that made it this far through the recession are
stronger than before, he observed, and have been finding some relief in
vendors' recent uniform pricing policies (UPP), which have been sticking thus
"The real test will come in the fourth quarter," Chaiken
In the meantime, business for Almo remains steady as the
distributor adds new brands like LG Appliances, expands distribution for
Sharp's cooking and home-comfort lines coast to coast, and continues to serves
dealers as a source of mixed-line deliveries and extensive services.
"We want to make sure our dealers thrive and outperform,"
The next Almo Expo will be held July 17-18 in St. Louis,
followed by stops in Toledo, Ohio, on July 31-Aug. 1, and Minneapolis on Aug.