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World Wide To Join PRO Group Effective Jan. 1

World Wide Stereo will join The Progressive Retailers Organization (PRO Group) effective Jan. 1, becoming its 19th member.

The Philadelphia-based specialty A/V dealer joins PRO from Home Entertainment Source (HES), a buying group affiliate where World Wide founder Bob Cole had been active as a three-term president and longtime board member.

Cole said his company’s business model more closely mirrors that of PRO dealers, a fact he discovered during the groups’ 18-month-old strategic partnership, known as the Alliance.

“I have had the opportunity to work with PRO Group since the partnership with HES, and through this new relationship, I have come to realize how closely the business models of the PRO members parallel World Wide Stereo, which is the foundation of my decision to join their group,” he said in a statement.

“It is a direct result of the PRO/HES partnership that I now have the opportunity to expand my family to include the members of PRO Group. I feel that I can make a significant contribution to the group, and they certainly have the experience and insight to help take World Wide Stereo to the next level,” Cole continued. “I will also continue to work with Jim Ristow [executive VP] of HES as a bridge for furthering the PRO/HES partnership and making it stronger. This is a huge priority and a win-win for everyone.”

In a statement, PRO Group executive director Dave Workman echoed that “the addition of World Wide Stereo is a direct result of the partnership formed a year and a half ago with HES as we continue to direct our efforts on serving the unique business needs of the larger specialty retailer and augmenting this with the additional services available through our affiliation with HES.”

He added that he is “extremely pleased that Bob Cole and his team at World Wide Stereo have decided to join the select ranks of respected specialty retailers that the industry has come to expect of PRO Group.”

In its new affiliation, World Wide Stereo will compete directly with fellow PRO Group member Sixth Avenue Electronics, the New Jersey-based A/V chain that recently opened its first Pennsylvania store in close proximity to one of Cole’s two showrooms.