Campbell Leaves Crane's For Linder's

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Retailer, raconteur and Southern California radio presence Tom Campbell has left Ken Crane's for Linder's Furniture, a seven-store furniture chain based here, where he will lead a new strategic effort to fully integrate consumer electronics into its assortment and showrooms.

Campbell, who has a background in home furnishings, joined Ken Crane's six years ago from Dow Stereo, and has served the Los Angeles-area A/V dealer as a VP and corporate director. He has assumed a similar role at Linder's, where he was named a corporate director and company spokesman.

Campbell said the move was less a change of venue than a change of distribution channel. “Quite frankly, I believe that the audio specialist is going away,” he told TWICE. “The big boxes and the installers are squeezing the independents with the 7,000- to 10,000-square-foot stores.”

The furniture channel, he believes, represents a fresh opportunity to sell CE, and offers vendors an alternative to traditional electronics outlets. Campbell's plan calls for the “total integration of electronics into every room of the home,” as demonstrated by home furnishings vignettes that tend to accelerate CE sales.

Campbell said manufacturers are “excited” by the concept, with Hitachi, Mitsubishi, Samsung, Sharp and Yamaha already embracing Linder's as an authorized dealer, and more partnerships in the works.

The 20-year-old BrandSource chain is lead by chairman Phil Linder and president Eric Foucrier. Its seven stores range from 50,000 square feet to 100,000 square feet, all fed by a 100,000-square-foot warehouse. Two more stores are under construction, and the company is in the process of acquiring another major regional chain, which could more than double Linder's annual sales to $150 million this year, Campbell said. A national push could follow.

“We're bringing a breath of fresh air to the CE industry,” he said.

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