By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Electronics Expo, the New Jersey A/V specialty start-up, has opened its sixth store in just under three years.
The new 13,000-square-foot unit, located here on a heavily trafficked shopping and commuter corridor, has a smaller footprint than its predecessors, and represents the latest format for the near $100 million chain.
The box features a central glass showcase area for small electronics and separate showrooms to showcase the company's expansive assortment of flat panel and rear projection HDTVs and custom install options.
“The business is changing dramatically,” said president/CEO Leon Temiz, “and we're evolving our format accordingly.”
To that end, the store features novel display concepts including cantilevered mounts for plasma and LCD TVs that allow customers to examine the rear panels and hook-ups, and a multi-room home environment that demonstrates such whole-house controls as an in-wall iPod dock station for distributed sound.
Another room highlights 1,080p via multiple display technologies, while a front projection showroom features five discrete systems displaying simultaneously on five separate screens.
The store also has a traditional audio component switching room, and a pièce-de-résistance home theater mock-up with custom built walls and floors. Temiz said the company's custom installation services extend to architectural and general contract work, allowing customers to re-build rooms or add extensions to their homes.
In the store the emphasis is clearly on flat panel, “although we still do a good rear projection business and front projection too,” Temiz said. Some 90 percent of RPTV volume is in 1,080p, a format the company is focusing on in all display technologies to help maintain average selling prices (ASPs). Temiz believes that despite a dearth of content, consumers will clamor for the higher-resolution sets in order to “future-proof” their purchases.
While flat panel shortages are abating, Temiz is vexed by the ongoing series of price moves by manufacturers, which are coming “too quickly,” and are proving disruptive to dealers and confusing to customers.
Electronic Expo's flat panel assortment includes Panasonic, Pioneer Elite, Sharp, Sony and Toshiba, while Mitsubishi weighs in for DLP rear projection. Electronics Expo also carries ProScan and Westinghouse LCD TVs to cover its opening price point bases.
Temiz said the three-year-old company's growth has partly come at the expense of competitors, but also from new business created by generating excitement in the stores. He said the company's e-commerce site has also been successful at driving traffic to the showrooms while generating “strong” sales.
The PRO Group member is currently working on opening its seventh store, and ultimately plans to operate between 12 and 15 locations in New Jersey.
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