20 West Galer Street, Seattle, Wash. 98119
(206) 443-0980, cartoys.com
Dan Brettier, Chairman/CEO
Annual Volume: $167 million
Number of Stores: 57
Product Mix: Mobile audio/video, mobile phones, and accessories
Seattle— CarToys is one of the few 12-volt specialists to successfully expand into a multi-region chain.
Since 1998, CarToys has doubled in size, now operating 57 locations, and is still growing. And although sales have been down in car audio this year, CarToys says it is performing "significantly better than the national average in almost all metrics," according to senior VP/merchandising Jim Warren.
The company attributes its success to achieving dominance in both of its key product categories — cellular phones and car audio. It also follows a formula of wide brand selection, a focus on customer service and installation, clean stores and heavy marketing, Warren said.
"The biggest thing that makes CarToys different is the investment we put in advertising. The typical adult in each of our markets will hear a CarToys spot 20 times a month on average," he said.
"I cannot stress enough the human component," Warren added, noting that CarToys employs more Mobile Electronics Certified Professional (MECP) master installers than any store in the country, and boasts the first female master installer.
CarToys also continues to adapt to a changing market. It recently opened a pilot store called CarToys Express offering mainly performance accessories (such as neon and shift knobs) and wireless phones in a mall setting.
The company also continues to open new locations including a store in the Seattle area in June and a location in the Dallas/Fort Worth market planned for this fall. The chain currently operates in Colorado, Texas, Oregon and Washington.