Gaithersburg, Md. - A/V specialty chain MyerEmco is going out of business.
The privately held dealer, which served the Washington D.C. market for the past 55 years and helped set the standard for the independent A/V specialist, said it succumbed to the prolonged recession and a credit squeeze that left it without sufficient working capital.
Liquidation sales at all seven stores will begin on Friday, Feb. 12, and are expected to run for the next 60 days.
President/CEO Jon Myer said he had "tried to stem the tide" for the past 15 months by cutting expenses, closing a store and trimming staff - including former president Gary Yacoubian - and even sold a home in order to put the proceeds into the business.
But "the economic downturn was like a light switch," he told TWICE, as revenues plummeted by upwards of 35 percent.
Compounding the effects of the recession were declining video margins and average selling prices, he said, as well as unfavorable payment terms by vendors that essentially forced the family business to finance manufacturers.
Myer believes he could have made a go of it from a base of three core stores, but was unable to extricate the company from its lease obligations.
He was finally forced to pull the plug after his bank refused to extend additional credit to the struggling chain.
Myer said his immediate priority is to pay back business partners and secured creditors, although going forward he hopes to acquire the MyerEmco name and customer list.
The company was founded in 1955 as a ham radio repair shop by Myer's father Ed, and generated $35 million in CE sales in 2008, according to the TWICE Top 100 retail rankings.
An ad signed by Myer announcing the fire sale reads in part, "Unfortunately, our greatest sale ever will be our last. It's sad but true. After 55 years of serving the Washington-area community, MyerEmco Audio Video will be closing its doors forever. As a family-operated business, we've outlasted many high-profile competitors, but we couldn't outlast this Great Recession."
The liquidation follows that of New England CE, appliance and furniture chain Bernie's, which is expected to shut its doors later this month.