FORT WORTH, TEXAS – At least six members of the NATM Buying Corp. have been leveraging the specialty CE clout of the ProSource buying group through a recently created associate membership tier.
Under the new non-voting designation, formally announced last month, a select number of NATM’s large regional dealers have been participating in ProSource’s audio, mobile, accessory and custom-integration programs as associate members, while maintaining their NATM affiliation and core vendor programs.
Participating in the new arrangement are ABC Warehouse, Abt Electronics, BrandsMart USA, Nebraska Furniture Mart, R.C. Willey and Video Only.
According to ProSource president/CEO Dave Workman, the agreements were forged between the group and each dealer individually. All of the membership pacts went into effect at the beginning of the year except for Abt, a past member of ProSource forerunner PRO Group, which established ties with Workman’s organization in 2014.
“Our goal has always been to focus on our core strengths and present our vendor partners with a clear alternative to the national retailers for growth and the introduction of new technologies to the consumer,” Workman noted.
The addition of the large regional chains dramatically increases ProSource’s sales heft, while giving the NATM dealers access to specialized product lines outside the purview of NATM’s core TV and appliance programs.
The arrangement, along with a more recent, formal alliance between the Nationwide Marketing Group and Home Technology Specialists of America (HTSA), indicates a need among dealers for more specialized CE assortments and services, and a willingness to build new outside allegiances to access them.
Indeed, NATM executive director Jerry Satoren told TWICE that extra-group affiliations are common for NATM members, and are permitted under the group bylaws. “Given the diversity of our members, who are leaders in their respective markets, we have members who are part of furniture groups, bedding groups and groups for other categories,” he said, including, ostensibly, ProSource for high-end audio. “Remember, our focus is still TVs and major appliances.”
ProSource is the specialty CE division of the $13 billion BrandSource buying group, born of the merger of PRO Group and BrandSource’s in-house Home Entertainment Source (HES) arm. It represents over 500 retailers and customer integrators with cumulative sales of more than $4.5 billion.
Said Workman, “When you combine the existing momentum of new member growth across all classification of dealers within ProSource, and then add the additional buying power represented by our new associate members, we truly have become the largest and finest representation of CI and retail dealers in the nation.”
In addition to the six recently announced associate members, ProSource has also added 29 custom integrators to its member ranks.
The new additions include five so-called “Power CI” members, a tier that comprises the group’s largest custom integrators with annual sales of $4 million or more. They include Acadian Custom Installations, BlueSpeed AV, Home Pro, Maxicon and Smart Systems Technologies.
The balance of the new members is classified as ProSource Custom Integrators, a tier that’s reserved for those with annual sales of at least $1 million, but less than $4 million.
ProSource membership director Sherry Dantonio said the 29 recruits represent “a broad range of both young and seasoned businesses with a strong skill set ranging from traditional CE/CI to IT backgrounds.
“Everyone benefits as the dealers share their skill sets and learn from one another,” she said.
The group is gathering this week for its annual spring meeting, which runs June 1-5 in San Antonio. Check TWICE.com for updates from the event.