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Distributor News: Almo, AHA, PowerHouse Begin Q1 With A Bang

Industry distributors Almo, AHA and the PowerHouse Alliance are all hitting the ground running in 2016 with expansions, acquisitions and workshop road trips.

 Almo, the Philadelphia-based A/V and appliance distributor, said strong sales growth and expanded vendor partnerships have prompted additions to its sales team and warehouse footprint.

According to Jack Halperin, the company’s dealer channel sales senior VP, the privately held business has enjoyed year-over-year CE and majap gains that continue to “outpace the industry.”

To keep up with demand, expanded business relationships with several vendor partners, and an increasingly complex “Bundle of Brands” offering, the distributor is boosting is sales staff by 30 percent, realigning its territories, and has added numerous field sales, inside sales, and inside service positions to the dealer-channel division.

“We needed to realign and reorganize to ensure that we are holding true to our core mission and value proposition for our customers and vendor partners,” Halperin said.

At the same time, the company has increased capacity to over 2 million square feet thanks to expansions of its Philly, Atlanta and Dallas distribution centers, in order to reduce delivery times for Almo’s appliance brand stable.

 President/CEO Warren Chaiken added that the company’s “singular focus of ensuring that our customers succeed, whether they are a dealer or a manufacturer, has allowed us to exceed expectations” for continued growth, as Almo enters its “next phase.”

Similarly, AHA Distributing, a member of the Southeast Catalyst AV Distributors Group, is also expanding, having acquired fellow Catalyst member Electronics Source, which had long served the custom integration market from its Boynton Beach, Fla., headquarters.

AHA, with facilities in Atlanta, Charlotte, N.C., and Tampa, Fla., said the deal extends its reach to South Florida and the Caribbean, and provides a greater portfolio of “heritage CEDIA-channel brands” that can be same-day delivered throughout Florida.

Effective today, all Electronics Source operations will function under the AHA name.

Mike Hench, who founded Electronics Source over 20 years ago, will step down from the board of Catalyst, which he co-founded, to focus on his sales rep firm L.P. Hench Co.

As part of the expansion into Florida, AHA promoted Chris Gentile from Atlanta GM to operations VP, and appointed Mark Burke as Tampa GM. Electronics Source inside sales managers Mark Johnson and Paul Lacourse will continue with AHA.

“We have tremendous respect for what Mike Hench and Electronics Source achieved in Florida and the Caribbean and are excited to now make these markets part of the AHA family,” said AHA founder/CEO Chris Gilray. 

Meanwhile, members of the $800 million PowerHouse Alliance distributor consortium have added new training series and workshops to keep their dealer customers ahead of the tech and security curve.

Among them, Electronic Custom Distributors (ECD) will host a series of 2GIG CEU trainings starting Tuesday, Feb. 9, at its Houston headquarters, will bring them to its Austin location on Feb. 11, and will wrap up the following day in Dallas. Dealers will have the opportunity to learn the most up-to-date installation and troubleshooting techniques and will receive a full run-down of the 2GIG product line, ECD said. 

 Fellow PowerHouse member Volutone, which covers Southern California and parts of Nevada for the Alliance, is kicking off February with several commercial audio workshops starting tomorrow (Feb. 2). The series will cover a variety of commercial audio installation applications including sports bars, restaurants, houses of worship and retail.

Volutone’s specialized trainers will dive into 70V audio and reveal where it should be used and why. During the houses of worship session, they will highlight common church layouts and show how to place speakers for a high-quality audio experience, and dealers across their territory will have the choice between a morning and afternoon session so they can learn without disrupting their daily schedules.

 “We made this commercial audio workshop free so our dealers can access our teams’ wealth of knowledge that can expand their business into new venues and applications,” said Volutone VP Trevor Hansen. “Our trainers will dive into installation best practices for some of the most common and profitable settings for commercial audio, and will even share budget and troubleshooting tips.”

 Later this month, Volutone will also host a series of Total Control by URC trainings to introduce its dealers to the Total Control product line and share Z-Wave programming tips. The California trainings will start on Feb. 16 in San Diego and Simi Valley; move to Van Nuys and Ontario on Feb. 17; continue on to Cerritos and Las Vegas on Feb. 18; and wrap up in Irvine, Calif., on Feb. 19.  Visit the Volutone website to register.

 Elsewhere, member Audio America will follow up its November dealer show with a Lutron and Nest training Lutron’s Plantation, Fla., Experience Center on March 15.

 Additional PowerHouse member trainings over the next two months include:

 *ECD:  Lutron/Verbatim/Focus training, Feb. 17; Russound Vendor Day and training, Feb. 26, Houston; and

 *Mountain West: Projector and acoustics training, Feb. 17, Phoenix.

The full PowerHouse member events calendar is available here.