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ProSource Debuts At Bally's Bash

1/17/2011 12:01:00 AM Eastern

LAS VEGAS — The newly formed ProSource buying
group formally debuted earlier this month at an
International CES-eve cocktail reception at Bally’s
Hotel.

The group brings the Progressive Retailers Organization
(PRO Group) and Home Entertainment
Source (HES) together under a single umbrella to
create what ProSource described as “the largest
single buying group for premium products.”

The move also rolls PRO Group into the $14 billion
BrandSource parent organization.

The merger formalizes a strategic partnership that
was forged two years ago between the two specialty
A/V buying organizations under The Alliance banner,
and will serve to “amplify the voice of independent
dealers,” said HES executive VP Jim Ristow.
“The pendulum’s gonna swing in 2011.”

Ristow and his PRO Group partner, executive director/
COO Dave Workman, will continue to lead
their respective organizations, which serve different
volume classes of independent dealers. The groups
will also continue to hold separate annual meetings,
with HES’s in February and PRO Group’s in May.

“We’re not throwing everything together,” Workman
told TWICE. “It’s not going to be homogenized. Some
members will be serviced through direct programs
and some will be serviced through Expert Warehouse,”
BrandSource’s in-house distribution program.

However, the two groups plan to unify the direction
of their volume buys by developing signature
ProSource programs with six core vendors, which
dealers from both organizations can share in.

“We’re dead serious about bringing the groups,
and vendors, into alignment,” Workman said. “Expanded
distribution has had a bad effect. Vendors
are realizing that huge volume doesn’t pay all the
bills. [Mass-merchant] channels are harvesters rather
than farmers of new technology.”

Instead, “the industry needs to return to channel
strategies and restore levels of differentiation,”
noted Ristow. “We’re the clear place to go for better
products and the most profitable mix.”

ProSource will also “cross-pollinate” committees
from both groups, and form new ones to address
categories such as wireless broadband, tablet computers,
smartphones, security and technology integration
that have yet to be embraced by the traditional
A/V specialty channel, the executives said.

“We’re reinventing the whole business model for
buying groups,” Ristow said. “We’re going to be the
gold standard.”

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