Binghamton, N.Y. - The first McIntosh Experience Centers will open in two dealer showrooms in the coming days to the accompaniment of live in-store musical performances and demonstrations of McIntosh sound systems.
McIntosh is teaming with its dealers to build McIntosh-dedicated rooms in stores "to engage and educate new audio enthusiasts to a high quality music listening experience," the company said.
The first of the two Experience Centers will open Friday, Nov. 4, at Century Stereo in San Jose, Calif. The second will open on Thursday, Nov. 10, at IQ Home Entertainment in Fairfax, Va.
For the grand openings, rock band
will take the stage at Century Stereo, and the Nashville pop-rock group "
" will perform in Fairfax.
The dealers worked with McIntosh to promote the grand openings through Facebook and Twitter, the dealers' web sites, local media, the dealers' customer lists, and McIntosh's own database of McIntosh users.
Both Experience Centers were custom-designed for each store, with the Century Stereo center taking up 360 square feet and the IQ Home Entertainment center taking up 400 square feet. Both centers are promoted as prestige settings that create an at-home atmosphere with a couch, McIntosh-related art on the walls, a plasma TV displaying a blue McIntosh VU meter with moving needle, and three McIntosh electronics-speaker systems intended for different use cases and designed to simplify the purchasing decision. One system, the MX-A60 compact tabletop stereo system, is targeted to people living in small spaces. The SoHo stereo system features full-sized components, including a turntable. And the Westchester is a home theater system consisting of full-size components and speakers.
Also for playback on the plasma TV, McIntosh provides participating dealers with a "mood-reel" disc and a "sizzle-reel" disc. The former features brand images; the latter features videos of the company's factory in action and the company's listening parties with noted musicians.
McIntosh hopes to open 10 Experience Centers per year beginning in its fiscal 2012, which begins in April, said Linda Passaro, global VP of sales and marketing. McIntosh
a year ago to launch the Experience Centers as part of a drive to position itself as a luxury brand that would expand its appeal to more consumers.
McIntosh dealers who build the Experience Centers get stepped up support, including support for a grand opening, support for product-launch events, and a prime position on the McIntosh web site. Participants also get a boost in marketing funds and co-op, dating programs for McIntosh Center inventory, in-store training for all staff, and event-planning support, including arranging for bands to play at the grand openings.