Milwaukee - Flanner's Home Entertainment has been acquired by Colder's, a four-store independent dealer based here.
The 68-year-old furniture, appliances, bedding and home-theater chain will maintain Flanner's brand and Brookfield, Wis., store, and plans to open additional Flanner's locations throughout Southeastern Wisconsin.
Flanner's, a respected one-store specialty A/V dealer operated by John Flanner,
and was forced to sell off its assets last month amid the weak economy and a severe cash-flow crunch.
Flanner and his staff are in discussions with Colder's about continuing under the new owners.
Randy Felker, whose family owns the chain, said Colder's will continue to operate the brands separately. "Flanner's served a very specific customer, and Milwaukee has no other operation like it," he told TWICE.
Felker believes Flanner's A/V specialty model is "very strong. Even in tougher economic times the Flanner's brand can still reach a market that can buy the latest and greatest."
Nevertheless, the company plans to take Flanner's "a step further and create a place where customers can find the coolest, newest, greatest quality products" in categories including custom home theater, wireless and Internet home technology solutions, and total home automation control, he said.
Colder's will also leverage the resources of its buying group, Home Entertainment Source (HES), a division of BrandSource, whose Expert Warehouse inventory distribution program has been a boon to independent dealers. Flanner's was just beginning to integrate the program through a partnership between HES and its own buying group, the Progressive Retailer's Organization (PRO Group), Felker said.
He added that the new Flanner's showrooms will be similar in format and size to the original store, although the total footprint will be smaller since the locations will require less office and back-room space.