Buying Group Rundown: A Who's Who Of Dealer Organizations

By Staff On May 7 2007 - 6:00am

Brand Source (formerly AVB)

100 South Anaheim Blvd.
Suite 250
Anaheim, Calif. 92805
Phone: (714) 502-9620
Fax: (714) 502-9627
CEO: Bob Lawrence
Annual volume: $11 billion
Number of members: 4,000
The skinny: Thanks to new affiliations with the Trib rent-to-own organization and Canada's MEGA buying group, plus an assist from its specialty flooring, premium majap and bedding divisions, Brand Source has more than doubled in size over the past 12 months. Also aiding the expansion was sharp growth at its Home Entertainment Source specialty A/V division, which now has 436 members and $1.2 billion in sales, plus the contribution of its 66-member MARTA Cooperative of America affiliate, which booked about $1.1 billion at wholesale last year.

Home Theater Specialists of America (HTSA)

501 E. Uwchlan Avenue
Chester Springs, PA 19425
Phone: (610) 363-9055
Fax: (610) 363-9065
Executive director: Richard Glikes
Annual volume: $500 million
Number of members: 57
The skinny: The premium A/V specialty group begins its second decade in business by focusing on five core categories — furniture, control and automation, networking, audio and lighting — to drive profitability amid the contraction of flat-panel margins.

Mega Group USA/Best Brands Plus

7511 Capital Drive
Germantown, TN 38138
Phone: (901) 753-8243
Fax: (901) 755-3076
Executive director: Pat Reed
Annual volume: $2.2 billion
Number of members: 1,200
The skinny: The group has stepped up its member service and support by deploying 12 field marketing managers and increasing its advertising and marketing efforts — including an aggressive circular drive — to dramatic effect. Furniture remains the largest category for Mega, followed by white goods, bedding, CE and lawn and garden.

Nationwide Marketing Group

110 Oakwood Drive, Suite 200
Winston-Salem, N.C. 27103
Phone: (336) 722-4681
Fax: (336) 714-2671
President/director: Ed Kelly
Annual volume: $11 billion
Number of members: 2,800
The skinny: Nationwide and its affiliates — the NECO Alliance and the Furniture Marketing Group — along with its new Specialty Electronics Nationwide (SEN) and rent-to-own divisions, outpaced industry growth in both brown and white goods last year and anticipate even greater market share gains going forward thanks to improved and aggressive pricing from core vendor partners and growth opportunities in specific CE and white-goods SKUs.

NATM Buying Corporation

450 7th Avenue, Suite 1309
New York, N.Y. 10123
Phone: (212) 239-7222
Fax: (212) 714-0403
President/executive director: Bill Trawick
Annual volume: $4 billion
Number of members: 12
The skinny: NATM says its membership — comprised mainly of major regional brown- and white-goods chains such as Conn's, Cowboy Maloney and R.C. Willey — continues to grow its business by building new storefronts and mounting aggressive sales and marketing efforts. Last year marked the group's last March annual meeting, which will now take place in September to accommodate vendors' line shows and fiscal calendars.

Progressive Retailers Organization (PRO Group)

2720 South River Road, Suite 101
Des Plaines, IL 60018
Phone: (224) 612-5570
Fax: (224) 612-5575
Executive director: David Workman
Annual volume: $2.5 billion
Number of members: 18
The skinny: Last year was probably the best in the specialty A/V group's 21-year history according to president George Manlove of Vann's, as an aggressive agenda, greater group cohesiveness and the addition of four members helped boost net sales 10 percent and comps by 7 percent. To build on that momentum, PRO is moving quickly into IT-based content distribution including convergence and connectivity products, and is developing a one-step virtual distribution model that will allow the group to conduct business with vendors as a single customer.

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