Trevose, Pa. - National CE and majap distributor Almo Corp. celebrated its 65
anniversary at the first of four Expo dealer shows here yesterday.
The Mid-Atlantic Expo, held at the Radisson Northeast near Almo headquarters in Philadelphia, drew dealers, e-tailers, custom installers and system integrators who shopped over 40 manufacturers including Electrolux, Monster, Samsung, Sharp, Panasonic and Pioneer, and attended a day-long series of seminars and vendor training sessions.
"It's all about customer education and becoming a better businessperson," president/COO Warren Chaiken told TWICE. "The Expos also give our customers a chance to talk to the vendor community, and provide another way for them to see product."
Educational sessions included primers on social networking and attachment selling; how-to's on the display and demo of 3D and connected TVs and tablet computers; and reviews of Frigidaire's and Samsung's spring majap lines.
The latter include Frigidaire's new high-efficiency, 3.4-cubic-foot top-load washer, due out in the third quarter, and Samsung's $3,500 four-door refrigerator with Wi-Fi-enabled LCD display that will ship in late May, early June.
The family-held business has also beefed up its small appliance assortment, added Jawbone to its vendor roster, is looking to add several more brands to its Samsung and Coby tablet selection, and is considering entering the smartphone and mobile market. "We're trying to offer as much merchandise as we can that makes sense for our dealers," Chaiken explained.
Chaiken said business for Almo and its customers is good and steadily improving but choppy, and sees the greatest short-term challenges in high gasoline prices, appliance cost increases and potential product shortages stemming from the calamity in Japan.
"We haven't seen anything significant yet" within the supply chain, he said, although given the amount of inventory already in the pipeline, "It would be about 60 days before anything would happen."
The company is also experiencing solid growth in its two-year-old Professional A/V division, led by executive VP/COO Sam Taylor, which provides commercial flat panel displays and audio systems to the hospitality, government, educational, corporate, house of worship and medical channels.
Taylor's division held the first of four planned E4 buying shows earlier this month in Dallas and San Francisco and will bring the event to Chicago and New York in the fall. Meanwhile, Almo's Expos will continue July 19-20 in St. Louis, Aug. 2 in Toledo, Ohio, and Aug. 11 in Minneapolis.
The company capped off yesterday's Mid-Atlantic event with a buffet dinner and an awards ceremony honoring vendor partners including Panasonic, Pioneer and Electrolux.