Fort Worth, Texas - The Progressive Retailers Organization (PRO Group) and Home Entertainment Source (HES), a unit of BrandSource, both report they have entered into a long-term agreement under the umbrella organization ProSource.
Under the new agreement, which became effective April 1, David Workman has assumed the newly created role of president/CEO of ProSource in conjunction with his current responsibilities as president and COO of PRO Group.
Jim Ristow continues as executive VP of HES and will continue to represent those BrandSource members that sell electronics that are not members of HES.
A newly formed six-member steering committee has been created with equal representation from the respective boards of both PRO Group and HES. "The objective of this committee is to build the future direction of ProSource and to assist in the prioritization of the group's initiatives," the group said.
The charter members of this committee include George Manlove, chairman of Vann's; Murray Huppin, president of Huppin's/OneCall; Walt Stinson, president of ListenUp; David Pidgeon, CEO of Starpower; Bob Dodge, CEO of Talk of the Town; and Andy Kersey, CEO of Hamlin & Kersey.
ProSource will also establish two additional committees -- a custom/control committee and a marketing committee -- to further address the changing needs of the membership within both organizations, the group said.
PRO Group and HES will continue to operate as separate organizations, with separate boards, P&L functions and other operations, with ProSource representing the membership of both organizations to the vendor community, Workman and Ristow told TWICE.
The business models of PRO Group and HES members are similar, both Workman and Ristow said, with PRO Group members, in general, being larger than HES members.
Workman commented in a statement: "Jim Ristow and I have had a vision for our two organizations stretching back for almost three years. We each have the privilege of managing two very successful buying organizations, but with the myriad of changes that continue to occur in the CE industry, we knew that we needed to change as well.
"While PRO and HES will continue to function independently from an operations standpoint to cater to the specific needs of each organization's member base, this agreement finally allows us the opportunity to harness the potential of our combined volume and work even more closely with our core partners.
"We believe that the strength of our buying power, combined with the strategic infrastructure of Expert Warehouse will deliver growth opportunities unrivaled by any other buying group. I am extremely excited to work even more closely with Jim Ristow, Dean Sottile, Andy Orozco and the rest of the ProSource team as we proactively address the needs of our membership and vendor partners."
Ristow said in a statement: "We believe that the challenges being faced by big-box retailers today present the industry with vibrant growth opportunities in specialty CE and integration. This final step in the ProSource merger allows us to combine resources and unify our focus to advance the position of our group members and vendor partners."
ProSource, founded in 2011, is a cooperative member owned, not-for-profit buying group that includes members of both HES and PRO Group with retail sales of more than $3.1 billion. ProSource currently represents over 500 retailers and more than 950 storefronts. While PRO Group and HES maintain separate identities, ProSource represents as a single, combined and focused business to the vendor community.
PRO Group will hold its annual meeting with vendors May 9-11 in Dana Point, Calif. Its members include The Big Screen Store, Bill Smith Electronics and Appliances, Bjorn's Audio/Video, Car Toys, Crutchfield, Electronics Expo, Huppin's/OneCall, J&R Music and Computer World, Jetson TV & Appliance Centers, ListenUp, Modia, Ovation Audio/Video, Paul's TV, Stereo Advantage, Vann's and World Wide Stereo. For more information, visit
HES, the A/V specialty division of BrandSource, is a 100 percent member-owned merchandising group dedicated to the independent audio/video integrator and retailer and the combined purchasing power of more than 500 dealers nationwide.
For information on becoming a member, call (800) 430-0282.