Hifi House Celebrates 50th Anniversary In Philly Market

By Alan Wolf On Jan 5 2006 - 8:00am




Hifi House, the high-end A/V retailer, custom installer and systems integrator, is celebrating its 50th year of serving the greater Philadelphia area with both cutting-edge CE products and charitable community involvement.

The company, which lays claim to such industry milestones as having sold the first large-screen TV (1975) and the first 65W-inch Sharp LCD-TV, was founded by Saul Robbins in a back room of his father-in-law's haberdashery in Wayne, Pa., in 1955. Robbins, a trucking company traffic manager, was a hi-fi enthusiast and used the storage room first to listen to, and then sell, hi-fi systems directly. Soon thereafter he took over the entire store, and a local legend was born.

Today, the $25 million business is led by Saul's son Jon (COO) and president and co-principal Ken Adelberg, who helped expand Hifi House into the custom home and commercial/industrial installation markets. The business, which has steadfastly held onto its name through all manner of technological evolution, currently operates two Pennsylvania showrooms, in Jenkintown (8,000 square feet) and Broomall (5,000 square feet), plus a third location in Wilmington, Del., that will be 6,000 square feet following a relocation next month. HiFi House employs upward of 30 custom installers, maintains its own fleet of trucks and is a member in good standing of the Home Theater Specialists of America buying group (HTSA). In fact, HTSA executive director Richard Glikes is a former staffer.

Despite fierce marketplace competition, the company's retail business remains “pretty insulated” from mass merchants, thanks to the level of customer it reaches and the level of services it provides, the younger Robbins said. “Our clients are total solution customers,” he noted, with $200,000 jobs and higher being pretty much the norm. The company draws new customers through event marketing, ads in up-market publications and limited TV, although a major chunk of its business comes from existing customers, referrals and its substantial builder and designer network. The company also maintains an informational Web site at www.hifihousegroup.com.

Besides providing bleeding edge products and top flight service, HiFi House also has a long legacy of organizing, promoting and participating in charitable events throughout the Delaware Valley, notably the Tylenol Kids' Classic Golf Tournament in 1986, which raised $1.2 million over seven years for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Together with the Elf Foundation, the company also recently donated and installed two “Rooms of Magic” to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Valued at $15,000, the state-of-the-art playrooms benefit pediatric pulmonary and endocrinology patients. Also in the past year, the company donated the use and installation of flat-panel TVs to 13 Stephen Starr restaurants throughout Philadelphia to support President Clinton's broadcast that thanked Americans for their response to the Asian tsunami.

Additionally, Hifi House is involved with organizations such as the St. Charles Seminary, Arthur Ashe Youth Tennis Center, The Please Touch Museum, Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, Jefferson Hospital and Magee Rehabilitation Hospital, as well as many other faith-based and community organizations.

Most recently, Hifi House celebrated its 50th anniversary with a benefit concert at the popular World Cafe Live club in Philadelphia. The concert, sponsored in part by Philadelphia Magazine, featured a rare live performance by Philadelphia's famous rock act, The Hooters. Audience members participated in a live charity auction, where they bid on two Gibson guitars and the chance to enjoy an upcoming Philadelphia 76ers game from the comfort of a Wachovia Center luxury suite.

The concert raised $22,000 for Alex's Lemonade Stand, which funds pediatric cancer research, and MusicLab at World Cafe Live, a community-based music education series for school-age students and adults. Alex's Lemonade Stand was named after a young cancer victim who set up a lemonade stand to raise money for research, and later succumbed to the disease.

“Hifi House and World Cafe Live are helping us make a difference in the fight against childhood cancer,” said Jay Scott, executive director of Alex's Lemonade Stand. “This is a wonderful way to honor Alex's legacy, and demonstrate how small, individual acts of charity add up and can ultimately have a positive impact on many people, and even the world.”

“We're thrilled to be able to thank the Delaware Valley for 50 years of patronage by sponsoring this exciting concert event to benefit Alex's Lemonade Stand and MusicLab,” said Robbins.

Added Adelberg, “Hifi House's executive leadership, managers and employees are deeply committed to the Delaware Valley, and we will continue to promote and uphold the highest standards for good corporate citizenship for the next 50 years.”

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