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6th Ave. Changes Format With New Flagship Store

6th Ave. Electronics, one of the last remaining New York metro area A/V chains, kicked off an aggressive expansion strategy this month with the opening of a new 25,000-square-foot prototype store and the goal of reaching $200 million in annual sales within two years.

The new flagship store, a former Kids “R” Us located here on Route 17, the most heavily populated retail corridor in northern New Jersey, represents a major departure for the privately-held, eight-unit chain. Gone are the stacks of grab-and-go loss leaders and any last vestiges of the dealer’s discount roots. Instead, the open layout, replete with tile floors and central glass cases for digital cameras, MP3 players, cellphones and other small electronics, is more akin to a jewelry showroom, with the company’s core A/V and 6-volt offerings neatly ensconced in recessed demo areas.

The store is also completely networked via Sonos wireless controllers and a hard-drive media server, allowing sales staff to demonstrate the integration of home entertainment and PCs, and permitting customers to play video games online using in-store gaming pods.

Demo areas are dedicated separately to microdisplay TVs, plasma TVs, flat-panel LCD TVs, rear-projection CRT TVs, direct-view CRT TVs, home audio, mobile audio and accessories. Interspersed are vendor-supported showrooms for Epson, JVC and Pioneer Onyx products presented in home-like vignettes to suggest custom-install options.

“This [store] offers the most lifestyle rooms of any of our locations so that consumers can see how our products can be integrated into their home and work environments,” said president MikeTemiz.

6th Ave.’s upscale evolution is designed to emphasize its custom-install capabilities and further differentiate it from CE competitors. Indeed, the new store is walking distance from Circuit City, P.C. Richard, CompUSA and Harvey locations, while Best Buy and Electronics Expo, the specialty A/V chain founded last year by Mike’s brother Leon, are located further along the retail corridor. 6th Ave. also maintains a second Paramus store.

Chairman Billy Temiz said the new flagship will serve as the template for future planned stores, and that older locations will be retrofit over time.