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Abt, P.C. Richard Pleased With NATM Reunion

SMITHTOWN, N.Y. — P.C. Richard
& Son and Abt Electronics
are happy to be back with their
former buying group, the NATM
Buying Corp., and NATM is glad
to have them, company executives
told TWICE.

The two leading regional dealers
rejoined the CE and appliance
group March 1 after a 16-year absence
for P.C. Richard and a seven-
year absence for Abt.

“There is an advantage to being
able to have open discussions
with a bunch of friends in
the same industry who are facing
the same challenges we do
on a daily basis,” said P.C. Richard
president Gregg Richard,
whose 57-store chain has been
unaffi liated since leaving NATM
during the mid 1990s.

“We’re happy to be back in NATM,”
echoed Abt president Mike Abt, who had
been a member of the Progressive Retailers
Organization (PRO Group), a buying
group for specialty A/V dealers.

The two dealers will add about $2 billion
in revenue to NATM, giving the group approximately
$5 billion in sales.

“We’re happy to have them back,” said
NATM president and executive director Bill
Trawick. “It gives us a much bigger voice
as we move forward, and strengthens our
position to negotiate with manufacturers
and compete with national chains.”

Trawick acknowledged that P.C. Richard,
like other NATM members, may not
participate in all group programs given its
size and clout with vendors. “But it goes
beyond buying,” he said, pointing to the
best practices and other strategic information
that the dealers share.

Richard concurred. “We didn’t necessarily
rejoin NATM to better our buying,” he
said. More important to the family-owned
business are operational issues such as
distribution and delivery systems, advertising
and media efficiencies, Internet strategies,
and insurance and health benefits, in
addition to merchandising matters.

Richard stressed, “The personal relationships
we have build and nurtured
with manufacturers are more important
than any group, and we plan to continue
those relationships and make them
even stronger.”

Abt, another family-owned CE and majap
dealer, operates out of a single 37-acre facility
in the Chicago suburb of Glenview, Ill.
The company left NATM following a change
in a core merchandising program, and had
been a member of PRO Group since.

“We’ll miss the PRO Group because
they’re a bunch of great guys, but we’re
looking forward to being in our old group
again,” Abt said. “It’s a tough industry, and
it seemed like the right decision for us.”

PRO does not support major appliance
programs, Trawick noted, and the
opportunity to rejoin NATM opened last
spring following the departure of regional
rival Grant’s.

The additions bring NATM’s membership
to 12, following the recent closure of Bernie’s.
Abt’s departure from PRO was that group’s
second member loss in February, after Myer-
Emco announced plans to close.