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Custom Distributors Expand Their Reach

From sea to sea, distributors are celebrating new and expanded facilities in carefully chosen locales

Location, location, location. The phrase has never been more suited to the custom distribution world. From sea to sea, distributors are celebrating new and expanded facilities in carefully chosen locales.

Snap One recently opened two new locations — one in Rockville, Md., and one in Orlando, Fla., says Wally Whinna, senior vice president of Local. “Within the next three months, there will be several more branch openings in Willow Grove, Pa., Secaucus, N.J., St Louis, Mo., and Lenexa, Kan. By the end of the year, we will have an additional four branch openings, bringing our total number of locations to 41. We plan to continue our expansion into 2023.”

The expanded national footprint will provide easier accessibility to products and services for partners, he notes. “Our goal is to provide same- or next-day access to today’s most popular brands along with the award-winning customer service reputation Snap One possesses,” Whinna says.

The Snap One Allnet Partner store in Marietta, Ga.

The company’s branches complement its robust ecommerce business servicing 20,000 partners annually, Whinna adds. “Pinpointing where our partners are geographically located, and the revenue generated, directs us to the best places to locate the next branches so we can be of service to the most partners.”

The PowerHouse Alliance also continues to expand, notes executive director Dennis Holzer. “Last year, PowerHouse members KOA, ECD, Pioneer Music, Mountain West, 21st Century Distributing, and Alarmax all either opened brand-new additional locations or moved into larger spaces to be able to accommodate the needs of their dealers.”

This year is on the same trajectory, with several new locations in the works from coast to coast, he adds. “These expansions give dealers more convenient access to the products they need and allow them to take advantage of a wider array of CEDIA-authorized training offered at PowerHouse locations across the country. Members of the PowerHouse Alliance are very connected to the needs in each of their areas. They pay attention to the trends and are able to assess where a new location would be of the greatest benefit. Nearly every region in our network is seeing growth driven by integrator/consumer demand for smart home products.”

See also: GE Appliances Opens New West Coast Distribution Center

Cynthia Menna, vice president and general manager of Pro AV, ADI Global Distribution, says her company identified product categories where they saw growth opportunities for ADI and customers in residential AV, professional AV, and data communications. “We’re expanding our offerings in these spaces both organically and by pursuing M&A activities to build upon our presence and help our customers capitalize on these growing markets. Since 2020, we’ve made four acquisitions, including Herman Pro AV and Shoreview Distribution in Pro AV, and Norfolk Wire & Electronics and, most recently, Arrow Wire & Cable in data communications.”

As part of its strategic growth plan, ADI regularly conducts market analyses of current locations, customers, market demographics, and travel times to ADI branches, using this data to identify opportunities for expanding its branch network and dealer service. ADI’s investment expands to its digital footprint as well, she says, simplifying the online shopping experience. “These updates are delivering significant impact as our ecommerce revenue was up 47 percent in 2021. Whether shopping in a branch, online, or through the mobile app, customers can expect the same seamless omnichannel shopping experience.”

Over the past two years ADI has opened three new branch locations in North America,” Menna says. “In the U.S., we opened a new branch in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and one in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Our Fort Lauderdale facility also contains a regional ship center designed to support project staging and next-day product availability for customers across the South Florida area. In Canada, we opened a new branch in the Greater Toronto Area. These are all growing markets where we already had branches, and opening second locations in these cities has allowed us to provide better service to more customers. ADI now operates 115 branch locations across North America and ten distribution centers strategically located to ensure local branches remain fully stocked at all times.”

ADI recently opened its new global headquarters and welcomed teams back to the office. “Located just a few miles from our previous headquarters in Melville, N.Y., the new ADI Support Center site was designed to foster innovation and encourage a collaborative work environment,” Menna says. “Additionally, we recently opened new Support Center sites in Dallas, Tex., Oldham, U.K., Breda, Netherlands, and San Luis Potosi, Mexico, and we’ve started construction on remodeling the Louisville, Ky., Support Center, set to reopen later this year. Support Centers represent our company’s corporate offices providing support to our global business operations, and opening our new headquarters is part of our overall vision and strategy to modernize our workplaces and optimize our business for continued growth.”

ADI Global Distribution’s new headquarters in Melville, N.Y.

ADI recently unified its AV products distribution offering under the ADI Global Distribution brand, integrating its recent Shoreview Distribution and Herman Pro AV acquisitions, Menna says. “By bringing our AV businesses together under the ADI brand, we’ll provide a central source for Pro AV and give customers access to more brands, more inventory, more services, and more support. This change represents the next step in our strategy to make ADI the Pro AV partner of choice and builds the foundation to support decades of Pro AV growth for our customers, and for our industry. We’re committed to being the indispensable partner of choice for our customers, suppliers, and team members, and you can expect to see a lot more from us in 2022.”

Here Comes Summer — and Supply Issues

Warmer weather means outdoors and opportunity. Snap One, for example, offers outdoor solutions in multiple sectors with a wide assortment from various vendors, Whinna says. “SunBrite, the originator of the durable outdoor TV, is available exclusively at Snap One, along with the Terrace from Samsung. Landscape lighting is an emerging opportunity for integrators, and we are proudly taking a leadership position in this category. We have teamed up with FX/Luminaire to provide training on how to sell, specify, and install landscape lighting. This collaboration can be seen as a new material profit center for our partners.”

The biggest trend in product requests, he states candidly, is: ‘Do you have it in stock?’ “The supply chain challenges have created constraints in multiple product categories. Having a wide assortment helps to alleviate this challenge, as you may not have the preferred brand but have inventory of the desired solution from an alternative vendor. Snap One also has the benefit of inventory availability in our e-commerce distribution centers that can be easily accessed by our partners. If a product isn’t available at a local branch, we can ship it from any of our 33 current locations.”

See also: ASKO Adds A Slew Of Distribution Partners In NA

PowerHouse continually reviews with members to assess the trends they are seeing, Holzer explains. “Networking equipment and indoor/outdoor displays continue to be top sellers, along with several in-home smart products. Networking in particular has gained traction as many people transition to permanent work-from-home setups where they need a strong and reliable internet connection.

“Of course, leading into summer, outdoor products are a huge focus, but I think what some people don’t always realize is that outdoor products don’t stop at outdoor speakers or an outdoor rated TV,” he notes. “The biggest growth areas for outdoor products among our members have been outdoor smart shades. Dealers who also market the whole outdoor experience are likely to have bigger projects and revenues than those who just install a set of outdoor speakers a client inquired about.”

Supply chain challenges are still very real across the industry, Holzer says. “But we are not alone. These issues are hitting every industry, from technology to automobiles to, most recently, baby formula and many consumables. The upside is that because supply chain issues are more commonly recognized, it’s easier for homeowners to understand why a product may not be as readily available as it was a few years ago. Additionally, PowerHouse Alliance has always been thoughtful in the way we manage and acquire vendors/products across member locations. We’ve been fortunate to have a deep stock to be able to support dealers’ needs. We’ve also expanded the number of vendors and products we offer over the last 18 months, providing more variety and choice to our dealers for their customer’s needs. For any products they have less experience with, all PowerHouse member locations offer training to help get dealers up to speed. This has also significantly reduced the wait time for dealers, so they can get to their customers and finish their jobs on a timelier basis.”

Don’t Forget the Details

As people have spent more time at home over the past two years, they’ve invested more in their homes in the intrusion, smart home, and AV categories, Menna says. “These continue to grow as homeowners see the value in home entertainment and the connected home. Video doorbells, smart thermostats, speakers, lighting controls, and the systems and apps that drive them have become increasingly important to end customers. Additionally, we’re seeing more homeowners investing in networking, Wi-Fi, video bars, conferencing cameras, and technologies for home offices and hybrid working models.”

The residential AV and outdoor entertainment categories are in full swing as we enter the summer months, she adds. “Whether it’s a backyard, patio, or courtyard area, these spaces are widely used for entertaining family and guests, and the demand for creating a living room experience outdoors continues to increase. We’re seeing more outdoor TVs and audio installed around pools, lounging areas, and firepits to provide a better and more leisure entertainment area. While these installations were previously seen more in milder climates, the outdoor entertainment categories are growing across all regions.”

A well-stocked PowerHouse Alliance warehouse.

As the industry continues to experience supply chain shortages, like most markets right now, ADI is working closely with supplier partners to maintain appropriate inventory levels. “Communication across the supply chain remains key to responding fast and efficiently to any situation. Our demand-planning team collaborates regularly with both our suppliers and integrators to monitor inventory levels and quickly identify any potential shortages,” Menna says. “We conduct an integrated business planning process with suppliers to understand their current inventory, secondary and tertiary component sourcing, and levels of production so that we can respond with additional safety stock or order expedites when appropriate. Additionally, we stay closely engaged with our carriers to mitigate the potential for container availability challenges and port congestion.”

With the current supply chain situation, ADI encourages customers to buy now and stock up on their most installed solutions. “This can help ensure they have the products they need and may minimize any additional price increases from inflation,” she adds. “And, as forecasting remains key, we’re working very closely with our customers to forecast their needs and help them secure the right products. We carry products from more than 700 suppliers, providing a wide array of choices. Customers can lean on our sales teams for alternative product recommendations and utilize our Systems Design Support and Herman Integration Services for help with job specification or on actual installations. It’s in times like these that partnering with the right distributor becomes even more important. Integrators should think of their distributor as an extension of their team and encourage them to get our team involved as early as possible. As supply chain disruptions and the uncertainties we’re seeing across the industry continue, ADI remains committed to taking every step possible to try and lessen the impact for our customers.”

“Beyond helping dealers secure products, PowerHouse is also committed to helping grow the industry,” Holzer says. “As home technology continues to gain popularity, the need for a qualified workforce to install technology in the home is more apparent than ever. PowerHouse has partnered with CEDIA to host CEDIA’s industry-leading certified training courses quarterly across member locations to train workers interested in joining the industry. Lastly, PowerHouse Alliance members offer free freight, same day delivery, 24-hour will-call, and purchase rewards at over 60-plus locations across the U.S.”

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About the Author
Karen Mitchell is a freelance writer based in Boulder, CO. She has written about the AV industry from both sides now — residential and commercial — for several years and still finds it most intriguing and fast paced.

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