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Queen City Rejoins NATM Buying Group

11/04/2002 02:00:00 AM Eastern

Former NATM Buying Corp. member Queen City TV & Appliance has rejoined the dealer group following a two-and-a-half-year absence.

The chain, which operates 11 stores throughout the Charlotte, N.C. area, first joined NATM in 1999. But the 50-year-old business left in March 2000 along with Handy TV, Vann's and Video Only, reportedly after key vendors balked at servicing the group's four smallest members.

But times have changed, explained Bill Trawick, NATM's president and executive director. "We had Roberds, American Appliance, H.H. Gregg and Sight 'n Sound. They were $100 million companies, and the smaller guys didn't fit in at that time. Now we have to rebuild."

Gregg left the group in September to avoid territorial conflicts with fellow members; Sight 'n Sound was since acquired by Aaron Rents; and Roberds and American Appliance both went belly up within the past two years. With the new member, NATM has nine retailers.

Queen City, which plans to open additional stores in North Carolina over the next several years, meets NATM's current criteria of well-managed companies with growth-oriented business plans and a commitment to support the group. "There are very few dealers out there doing $100 million," Trawick said, "so we're looking at guys doing $50 million or more."

NATM plans to bring three more dealers on board over the next 18 months, Trawick added, which together with the expansion of such current members as BrandsMart, Conn's and Nebraska Furniture Mart, should compensate for the loss of H.H. Gregg's estimated $500 million in volume.

Queen City senior VP Chip Player noted, "We are thrilled in joining the NATM group and believe that doing so will greatly enhance the effectiveness in our efforts to grow as a company. We look forward to working with and being a member of this great organization." Added Trawick, "We are excited about bringing Queen City back and about their expansion plans in the North Carolina markets."

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