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PRO Group Expanding Ranks

3/31/2009 03:48:00 PM Eastern

Des Plaines, Ill. — The Progressive Retailers Organization (PRO Group) is growing its member ranks.

The $2 billion buying group for specialty A/V dealers added Jetson TV & Appliance Centers earlier this year and now welcomes Paul’s TV to the fold, bringing the dealer count to 18.

A third new addition is expected to be announced shortly.

Dave Workman, PRO’s executive director and chief operating officer, said the group isn’t actively conducting “rush drives” per se, but “has its eye on certain retailers in the marketplace and follows up on inquiries” from prospective members. “If it’s a good fit and strategic match, the door is always open,” he said.

Jetson, based in Ft. Pierce, Fla., operates five stores in the Sunshine State. The departure of Sound Advice and Circuit City from its trading area presents a “tremendous opportunity” for president Trey Thofner to grow his CE business, Workman said, and the company is currently remodeling stores and adding electronics brands through the new affiliation.

PRO’s own relationship with Home Entertainment Source (HES), the A/V division of Brand Source, will also provide Jetson with access to the buying group’s appliance programs.

Jetson joins Abt Electronics and Vann’s as PRO’s third CE/majap dealer, and Workman sees an expanding role in the marketplace for retailers that are equally adept at selling electronics and appliances within the mid- to premium tiers.

Paul’s TV, founded in 1964 in La Habra, Calif., by the self-declared “King of the Big TV” Paul Goldenberg, is now run by two former Good Guys’ executives who’ve expanded the business to five locations. The company shares the same Southern California turf as long-time PRO member Ken Cranes, but operates under a unique business model that places in-store shops within furniture stores.

The stores-within-stores can currently be found in Living Spaces Furniture, a four-store chain in Southern California, and will soon appear in New England through a similar arrangement with Jordan’s Furniture in Massachusetts.

Workman said the fusion of CE and furniture has “a lot of growth potential,” and that the strategy can provide PRO with “dynamic growth.”

Besides Jetson, Paul’s and the forthcoming third new member, PRO is currently considering one or two additional dealers that may join the group later this year, Workman said. The new blood will help replace volume lost with the liquidations of former group members Tweeter and Harvey Electronics.

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