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CEA Offering ‘Great Ideas’ Program

A changed market has created new problems and complicated ongoing challenges for retail.

CEA’s Retailer Council and its audio-video retailer division are offering help to dealers by offering three “Great Ideas Meetings” in June.  These small-group gatherings are an excellent opportunity for dealers to interact with retail experts and industry colleagues to exchange ideas and discuss solutions that work.

According to Michael Pope, chairman of CEA’s audio-video retailer division and president of Audio Video Interiors, “We’ll be tackling ‘Owners’ Issues,’ and I encourage principals, presidents and CEOs to attend.  It doesn’t matter if you’re a showroom-based dealer, a CI or integrator — if you carry inventory, sell and install products, like me, then you should attend.”  Pope is hosting the June 20 “Great Ideas Meeting” at his Audio Video Interiors showroom and operations facility outside Cleveland.  This 20,000-square-foot facility features a fully functioning, model-home design center inside the showroom.

Jay Buchanan, chairman of the Retailer Council and director of global supply chain and logistics for Nebraska Furniture Mart, added, “These meetings are conveniently accessible throughout the U.S., and each venue adds to the meeting experience.”

Nebraska Furniture Mart is hosting the June 27 “Great Ideas Meeting” at its 1.3 million-square-foot Kansas City store, which features an Apple Store, Bose Store, Sony Store and HP Store within the store.

The first of these free “Great Ideas Meetings” is being held at Lutron’s Experience Center in Irvine, Calif., on June 13.

Each one-day “Great Ideas Meeting” will focus on five of today’s business issues identified by CEA Retailer Members.

When is the best time and way to hire? After trimming payroll and being stressed from wearing too many hats, now that business is improving, owners are ready to start hiring.  “Finding good, qualified employees is the biggest problem facing me and growing my business at this time and I’m not alone.  I want to hear how others are handling this,” said Kevin Buchanan, president of Home Entertainment and vice chairman of CEA’s audio-video retailer division.

Negotiating with my vendors is … Vance Pflanz, owner of Pflanz Electronics and immediate-past chairman of the audio-video retailer division, said, “Now, maybe more so than ever, with what appeared to be this ‘race to zero’ with TV margins and now vendors’ new pricing policies, reviewing your vendor relationships is vital to profitability — knowing the process for doing so is important.”

How best do I present my company to investors?  “I’ve expanded my business and purchased my operations’ building.  Capital is critical to growth. Yet capital, for many independent dealers, remains difficult to secure,” says Pope.  “Knowing how to present your business to banks and investors — what to say and what numbers they want to see — is key.  We’ll be taking a look at that”

Succession: Is there a right way?  What if I’m thinking about selling my business?  Now that business has gotten better, many dealers who started their companies back in the ’60s, ’70s and even ’80s are thinking it may be time to get out.  But, what if their children or other family members don’t want to take over?  Do they sell?  What’s the business worth?  We’ll be looking at valuation and discussing other considerations.

There’s a “Brain Trust” in the retail community that has first-hand experience answering these questions.  It’s comprised of well-seasoned veterans and survivors, dealer principals and senior management.  You’re invited to attend and share those experiences with others in the community.

For more information on these free meetings and to register to attend, here are the links for each “Great Ideas Meeting” date and location:

June 13 – Irvine:

June 20 – Cleveland:

June 27 – Kansas City:

Kerry Moyer is senior director of strategic relationships for the Consumer Electronics Association.