Norman M. Rozak, owner of Columbia Audio/Video, here, died of cancer on July 3. He was 73.
Rozak, described by PARA (Professional AudioVideo Retailers Association) as “a founding father of the hi-fi industry,” founded Columbia Audio/Video with his brother Irv in November 1948. Founded as Columbia HiFi & TV, the store originally sold TVs and appliances. For the first two years the brothers lived behind the store and saw their families on weekends.
According to a report by PARA, in 1956 Columbia moved here and started a manufacturing facility, specializing in accessories. PARA reported that the manufacturing operation, R-Columbia, still does business worldwide and its headphones are used by the National Football League and 3,300 colleges and universities.
During 1959 Rozak held the first hi-fi show open to the public and more than 3,000 consumers attended. The company moved to its current location on Second Street, here, in 1978. Rozak also co-founded Assured Systems in 1983, what PARA describes as the first retailer-owned distribution firm in the CE industry. He was also behind the acquisition of Audionics, which was the first time a group of retailers owned a CE specialty manufacturing company together.
Rozak’s son Gary will continue in his role as president of Columbia Audio/Video.