By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Sixth Avenue Electronics, the New Jersey-based A/V specialty retailer, is opening its doors for the first time on Long Island. The approximately 25,000-square-foot store is located in a strip mall here close to Roosevelt Field Mall, a major draw for the area which will likely lend Sixth Avenue some added foot traffic.
The new store is a re-entry to the state for the chain whose first store was located on Sixth Avenue in Manhattan. The company left the original store behind in 1989 upon opening its first New Jersey store in Paramus. This latest store is the 10th location in the chain.
"We feel we'll be a unique shopping experience on Long Island…We're shaking up the [local] competition," said Rudy Temiz, marketing VP.
"The concept for the store is to surround the customer with HDTV" Temiz said. He pointed out that this is the company's third location to feature Sixth Avenue's latest retail format, which features a long, open floor plan with an oval lineup of glass cases filled with handheld devices in the center of the main room, and the store's perimeter dotted with a variety of smaller rooms featuring HDTVs in a variety of configurations, in addition to sponsored rooms from multiple companies like Monster Cable, JVC, LG, Panasonic and others which have exclusive displays.
There is also a showroom dedicated to showcasing audio components, a design center for custom installation planning, and a mobile electronics room that allows customer to custom-plan an entire car A/V system and experience it immediately as it would sound in their car. A still-under-construction theater room will showcase Sixth Avenue's custom home theater installation offerings.
The store also houses a custom installation bay for on-site mobile installations. Tom Galanis, the company's operations VP, said that smaller mobile installations could be performed on-site, but "really intricate jobs will be shipped out to Jersey" to the company's recently-built customer service center (see TWICE, Aug. 7, p. 24).
Mike Temiz, Sixth Avenue's president, told TWICE that he expected about 2,000 people to attend the grand opening this month, and said that Sixth Avenue would attempt to draw customers in with promotions, giveaways and advertising in local newspapers.
Galanis said that the company was on track to do $200 million in annual revenues this year, and that they're projecting over $250 million for next year thanks to the addition of the Long Island store and its expected $30-million contribution, combined with an overall expectation of 10-percent comp store growth.
According to Galanis' estimates, "real custom installation," which he defines as "fully automating the rooms," makes up approximately 20 percent of Sixth Avenue's revenue, but the company expects that number to grow. He said their goal is to have it reach 35 percent to 40 percent of their overall business.
Despite plans for custom installation growth, Galanis assured TWICE that "we're not going to abandon [traditional] retail." He said it's a "mistake" for big box chains to shift their focus from their traditional CE retailing roots to custom installation, and to just advertise price points. "There is more to selling electronics than just price points," he said.
As for any plans to expand further on Long Island, Galanis said the PRO Group dealer is looking to open another location or two next year if they can find real estate with the type of higher-end demographics that can adequately support the business. He said he didn't expect the company to be able to support any more than two stores in the area in the near future because of the time it takes to train a new staff.
"If you open too many stores too quickly you can dilute the quality of your core service," he explained. "We don't want to dilute. The bottom line [for us] is really our people."
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.