Sixth Ave. Opening PC Departments


Springfield, N.J. - Sixth Avenue Electronics, the New Jersey-based A/V specialty and custom-installation chain, is adding PC departments to each of its 17 stores.

Following a recent expansion that extended its trading area from Delaware to Long Island, N.Y., the family-run business will soon begin rolling out dedicated, 2,000-square-foot PC departments system-wide.

The addition, which joins the company's coming entry into major appliances and year-round gaming, is made possible by a recently installed management software system from Germany's SAP AG, which is streamlining and standardizing virtually every element of the chain's operations from order entry, sales compensation and warranty commission, to rebate-tracking, vendor invoicing and demand-planning.

The PC assortment will build upon Sixth Avenue's current netbook offering from Asus and Hewlett-Packard by expanding the brand selection and adding laptops, peripherals and accessories.

Operations VP Tom Galanis acknowledged that PCs are a traditionally low-margin category, but, like the addition of appliances, was prompted by customer demand.

"It's an extension of our home-automation business," Galanis told TWICE. "People want a complete solution, and we don't want to send our customers to Best Buy for a laptop or a router."

Gaming, which had been a seasonal category for the company, will get about 1,000 square feet of permanent space adjacent to the computer department. Sixth Avenue will carry consoles and software for the three major gaming platforms, which provides "a huge opportunity" to cross-sell 3D TVs and surround-sound systems, Galanis said.

On the appliance front, the dealer plans to offer mid- to premium-priced majaps from "major brands," along with a smattering of luxury products, starting at its newest store in Concord Pike, Del. All will be presented within lifestyle vignettes under the stewardship of former Best Buy merchant Tom Cook, and will be supported by Sixth Avenue's installation and architectural design services.

Like PCs, appliances are a natural extension of the company's in-home services, Galanis said, and are being added by popular request. "We do our own CEDIA-certified custom installation and automation, have our own design center and construction company, and have 40 trucks on the road. After we've proven ourselves in a customer's home, they'll ask, ‘Can you get us appliances too?' "

"It's all about taking care of the customer," he said, and not, as a reporter suggested, responding to encroachments from New York metro-area powerhouse P.C. Richard & Son, and multiregional player hhgregg. "We don't react to others," he stated. "This is a free country built on competition, and everybody's welcome to compete. We just stay focused on our customers."

The company may consider adding the word "Appliances" to its name, but remains fiercely committed to its A/V-only buying group, the Progressive Retailers Organization (PRO Group), Galanis said.

The new categories can be accommodated by Sixth Avenue's latest 40,000-square-foot stores, while older locations will reallocate space from DLP TVs and add extensions where necessary.

Galanis added that business is beginning to pick up with the improving economy, and that the company has begun work on its 18


store, located in Pennsylvania.


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