Abt Electronics is arguably one of the most beloved brown- and white-goods retailers in the business.
Vendors love it for its fairness, ethics, professionalism and idealized product presentation.
Kids love it for its zany attractions — including a plasma TV windmill and signature 7,500 gallon fish tank — which makes the 360,000-square-foot store a family destination.
And perhaps most important, shoppers love it for its expansive selection, superlative service, competitive prices and its long-time connection to Greater Chicago. The family-run business, which turned 70 this year, hasn’t forgotten its humble roots as tiny Abt Radio. Nor has Chicago: last year the city dedicated the site of the original store to the company’s founders, renaming it Jewel and David Abt Way.
Third-generation management, led by president Mike Abt, remains committed to a single-store operation, although the company’s early embrace of authorized e-commerce has allowed it to extend its customer base nationwide. Today, Abt’s 1.5 million storefront and online shoppers remain fiercely loyal, with about 90 percent of the company’s business comprised of repeat and referred customers.
That would come as no surprise to Samsung district sales manager Robert Schaffner, who cited Abt’s “excellent customer service, educated sales staff, fair prices, and complete customer satisfaction in a marketplace that sometimes forgets that the customer comes first. Abt makes it their motto and lives by these words.”