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Other Notable Companies Also Toasting Some Key Anniversaries

8/08/2011 12:01:00 AM Eastern

NEW YORK — While we are pleased and thankful
that TWICE has made it to its 25th anniversary, in
doing research for this special issue we were reminded
of — and stumbled over — some significant
milestones for several esteemed companies that put
our 25 years in business in perspective.

Of course, The NPD Group comes to mind
first, since they approached us to celebrate our
25th anniversary and their quarter-century mark
in tracking the CE industry.

While I’m sure I have missed a few significant
anniversaries, here are — thanks to Wikipedia,
company websites, our own files and several online
sources — a few significant milestones being
marked this year by a variety of companies
involved in the electronics/appliance business:

Home Technology Specialists of
America (HTSA)
marks its 15th anniversary
in 2011. The cooperative of
custom retailers and systems integrators
celebrated its anniversary at its Spring
Meeting in April at the at the Sheraton
Wild Horse Pass in Chandler, Ariz. HTSA, which
originally stood for Home Theater Specialists of
America, is led by executive director Richard
Glikes.

Coby Electronics, which was founded
by Young Dong Lee, opened its doors
in the New York City neighborhood
of Maspeth, Queens, in 1991. Now
based in Lake Success, N.Y., with
manufacturing plants around the world,
Coby continues to sell home and portable
A/V products.

Staples, which NPD’s Steve
Baker mentions in his column, opened its first office
superstore in Brighton, Mass., during 1986.

Apple Computer is celebrating 35 years. It was
established in Cupertino, Calif., on April Fool’s Day,
1976, by — no fools here — Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak
and Ronald Wayne. (If you’re curious, its rival
Microsoft is 36 years old, opening almost a year to the day earlier, April 4, 1975, by Paul Allen and Bill
Gates.)

In 1971 Joe and Rachelle Friedman, founders of
J&R Music World, opened their first music store
on Park Row in New York
City. J&R now covers that
entire city block across the
street from City Hall and
carries the entire spectrum
of CE products in the heart
of Downtown Manhattan.

In January 2012 International
CES
, will mark
its 45th anniversary. CES,
which is produced and
owned by the Consumer
Electronics Association, was first held in New York
City in June 1967 and has evolved over the years to
become the largest consumer technology show in
the world.

Best Buy, the CE industry’s largest retailer, celebrates
its 45th anniversary this year. Founded by
Dick Schulze under the name Sound of Music, its
first store opened in Saint Paul, Minn., during 1966.

A year older than Best Buy is Audiovox, which
opened for business in 1965, and sells products
under its own brand and other familiar names like
Acoustic Research, Advent, Code Alarm, Jensen
and RCA, among others. Founder John Shalam celebrated
his personal 50th anniversary in business
during 2010.

KEF, the British-based loudspeaker manufacturer
with international distribution, is celebrating its 50th
anniversary this year. The company was founded by
Raymond Cook, an electrical engineer who worked
for the Royal Navy, the BBC and spent five years at
Wharfedale, before opening his company.

Sony, originally called Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo K.K.
(Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation),
celebrates its 65th year. It was founded in Tokyo
on May 7, 1946, by Akio Morita and Masaru Ibuka.

Abt Electronics is celebrating 75 years in
business. It began in 1936 when Jewel Abt gave
$800 to her husband David to start a business in
Chicago, originally called Abt Radio, selling small
electronics. The Abt family still owns the business,
which sells electronics and appliances from its
locations in the Chicago area and online.

Panasonic, one of Sony’s main competitors and
known for most of that time as Matsushita Electric
Industrial Co., Ltd., was founded by Konosuke
Matsushita on March 13, 1918, in Osaka, Japan. In
its 93rd year, Panasonic is targeting its 100th anniversary
in 2018 to become, in its words, “the No.
1 Green Innovation company” in the industry and
make “environment central to all of our business
activities.”

For Sharp Electronics, 2012 will be a big year
— its 100th anniversary. Founder Tokuji Hayakawa
opened a metal workshop in Tokyo in 1912, inventing
a snap buckle and later the Ever-Sharp mechanical
pencil in 1915, from which the Sharp Corporation
took its name. When the Great Kanto earthquake
1923 destroyed its pencil business, the company
relocated to Osaka and began designing the first
generation of Japanese radio sets.

Whirlpool celebrates its 100th anniversary this
year. Founded by Louis and Emory Upton under the Upton Machine name on Nov. 11,
1911, they began to produce electric,
motor-driven wringer washers in St.
Joseph, Mich.

Denon was founded by U.S.
trader Frederick Whitney Horn in
1910 as part of Nippon Chikuonki
Shokai (Japan Recorders Corporation),
a manufacturer
of single-sided disc
records and gramophones.
The company
is now part of
D&M Holdings.

Peter Christian
Richard (P.C.), an immigrant
from Holland,
opened a hardware
store in the Bensonhurst
neighborhood
of Brooklyn, N.Y., in
1909. His son, Alfred
J. Richard, was born
that same year and,
at 6 years old, began
to assist his father at the
store, hence the store’s
name, P.C. Richard &
Son
, which has been
owned by the family for
102 years. It was A.J. who
expanded the store’s inventory
to include electric
irons when he was 16. By
1932, A.J. had expanded
the hardware store to
include appliances.

He died in 2004 at the
age of 95.
The rest, as they say, is
history.

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