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HTSA Kicks Off 12th Fall Pump Up

10/15/2008 09:00:00 AM Eastern

Toronto — The Home Theater Specialists of America (HTSA) buying group announced plans to widen its focus to reach a B-to-B audience as it kicked off its 12th annual Fall Pump Up, called the “Telos in Toronto,” here yesterday at Le Royal Meridien King Edward Hotel.

HTSA's executive director Richard Glikes told TWICE he's hoping that the B-to-B segment may eventually represent 10 percent to 20 percent of the organization's business.

In other news, the group announced a collection of new agreements with three distributors: AVAD, Almo and O'Rourke. It also welcomed its two newest members, Crescendo and Innerspace, as well as a collection of new vendors including Control 4, Savant, JBL, Panasonic Professional and James Loudspeakers.

In his opening address to attendees, Glikes summed up the dilemmas many dealers are facing in this time of "doom and gloom headlines." He remarked, "The middle market has vanished," and added,  "The luxury market is spooked too." Other challenges he mentioned included pricing pressure, market consolidation and shrinking budgets. He also said he expected inflation to becoming more of a problem down the line.

To combat these pressures, Glikes suggested the group's members use this time to gain market share, work to increase their visibility in the market, "service the hell out of clients," and "hunt, hunt, hunt" for new business.

"We need each other," Glikes told the crowd. "We can come out stronger, but we've got to go through it together and take more share in order to be leaders in the future."

The first day's events were highlighted by a keynote speech by Ken Schmidt, the former communications director of Harley-Davidson. Schmidt encouraged HTSA's specialty members to move past relying on messages about "quality" and "value," and instead encouraged them to focus on appealing to customers' desires rather than to their logical sides.

"We are not selling things that people need, we're selling things people want or dream about," he said. "You're in the dream fulfillment business."

The HTSA event runs through Thursday, with continuing coverage at www.TWICE.com.