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PRO Group Adds Bill Smith

Fort Myers, Fla.
– Bill Smith Appliances and Electronics, the 55-year-old Southwest
Florida specialty chain, has joined the Progressive Retailers
Organization (PRO Group) as its 18th member.

The family-owned business is also the A/V buying group’s fourth
member to carry both CE and major appliances, joining Abt Electronics, Vann’s and
fellow Floridian Jetson TV & Appliance Centers, which came on board in

PRO’s strategic alliance with Home
Entertainment Source (HES), the A/V division of Brand Source, gives its majap
members access to the $12-billion buying group’s white goods programs.

Bill Smith began serving Fort Myers
from a single storefront in 1954, and today operates eight locations covering
the Southwest Florida market, from Port Charlotte to Marco Island.

The company maintains its own in-house service department, operates
three upscale Kitchen Design Centers, and is one of the largest independent GE
Appliance dealerships in the country.

In a statement, Chris Riching, executive VP of Bill Smith, noted,
“With the exit of Circuit
City and Sound Advice
from our markets, we’ve launched many initiatives which have successfully
captured share. We are excited about the opportunity to now accelerate the
growth of our consumer electronics sales via our new relationship with PRO

“The members of PRO represent the very best of the CE industry,”
he continued, “and the management of PRO clearly understands the needs of its
members from a retailer’s point of view.  We are proud to become a part of
this select group, and we look to the future with great optimism.”

Added PRO Group executive director Dave Workman, “We are excited
to add Bill Smith to our membership and look forward to supporting them in
their endeavors in the upscale consumer electronics business. Our goal has
always been to provide our members with the most complete set of program
benefits and now, through our alliance with [Brand Source], we are able to
compliment this with their group’s advantages in the appliance category while
maintaining our focus on providing the networking, information exchange, and
business services that come through an affiliation with the esteemed retailers
of PRO Group.”

PRO’s dealer ranks also include Bjorn’s Audio/Video, Car Toys,
Crutchfield, Electronics Expo, Flanner’s Home Entertainment, Huppin’s/OneCall,
Ken Crane’s, ListenUp, MODIA, MyerEmco, Ovation Audio/Video, Paul’s TV, Sixth
Avenue Electronics and Stereo Advantage.

As part of its post-Sound Advice and Circuit City initiatives,
Bill Smith had the second-highest share of all retail newspaper advertising on
a weighted basis within the 40-inch and larger TV category during the first
quarter of the year. According to IFR Monitoring, which tracks ads in the 100
largest U.S.
newspapers, the chain more than doubled its share of print ads during the
three-month period to 12.7 percent from full-year 2008.