ORLANDO, FLA. – BrandSource debuted its new CEO and outlined how its ProSource strategy will be the model for the overall group during its annual Summit & Expo here last week.
Jim Ristow, who helped develop the organization’s former Home Entertainment Source into ProSource, the specialty and custom CE group, addressed BrandSource members as their overall CEO for the first time. He succeeded Bob Lawrence, who retired at the end of last year.
Ristow and the management team at BrandSource want to take the ProSource playbook, which has made it the biggest CE buying group in the industry with nearly $4.6 billion in sales, and apply it to the overall group’s major appliance, furniture and TV categories.
“We have a recipe for success [from ProSource]. We saw the trend coming 12 years ago. Old-school buying groups were dead. ProSource is based on small, medium and large dealers,” Ristow noted.
And in TVs, which BrandSource’s electronics/appliance stores sell, Ristow said ProSource sales “were up 22 percent last year.”
He said the approach should be “to leverage big but act small,” meaning the group will still hold its two national shows per year, but will also hold regional events and dinners, conduct inside sales and field store visits, and form regional committees and boards.
“ProSource has become the gold standard for luxury CE and… the national alternative” for suppliers in that category, Ristow noted.
He commented that BrandSource is “very good right now, but it is going to get better with small, medium and large dealers and will be the ‘gold standard’ for major appliances, furniture and TVs.”
Ristow noted that “The industries we serve – appliances, furniture and TV – are strong and growing and most independents should thrive” over the next several years, Ristow said.
He added, “We have a recipe for success and an aggressive upbeat attitude. We have to grow or die, not just stay in the same place. We will be the gold standard for major appliances and furniture.”
Complete coverage of the BrandSource and ProSource Summit will appear in the March 16 print edition of TWICE.