HTSA Adds Members, Training, Custom Line

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The Home Theater Specialists of America (HTSA) buying group has added two new members: Montclair, Calif.-based Elite Custom Audio Video and Great Barrington, Mass.-based Tune Street. According to a release, the group now has a total of 59 members.

Elite Custom Audio Video shares its location with a specialty high-end truck and car customizing shop, which Elite's owner John Gilmore believes is good for business. Tune Street is owned by John Colin and caters to homes and businesses in the Berkshire Mountains and northwestern Connecticut.

HTSA said that both companies have been in business since 1993.

In other HTSA news, the group held its third annual Audio Boot Camp May 14-16 in Seattle, this time in conjunction with member dealer Definitive Audio.

HTSA said the purpose of its boot camps is to aid the membership in selling better audio and more audio. Forty-seven members took part in the event. The agenda included a presentation by Chris Browder of B&W on "How to Use High End Audio to Position Your Company," David Solomon and Jim Spainhour of Signal Path led a discourse on "Talking to the Download Generation and How to Make MP3s Sound Great." Other presenters included Dr. Mark Waldrep of AIX Records, Craig Finer and Craig Abplanalp of Definitive Audio, and Jeff Madison of RPG Diffusor Systems.

Topics covered included "How to Peak the Customers' Interest in High End Audio," "Amplifier Basics," "Qualifying to Sell High End Audio to the Luxury Buyer," "Opportunities in HD Audio," "What Makes an Amplifier Sound Good," "How Sound Conditioning Makes Everything Sound Better and Differentiates You from the Big Box Guys," HTSA said.

The highlight of the three-day event was the store tour of the Definitive Audio store in Seattle. The group was "wowed" by a pair of $150,000 speakers hooked up with $50,000 cables, said Richard Glikes, executive director.

Elsewhere, HTSA has selected Niveus Media as its first and only manufacturing partner that produces digital media solutions for connected homes. According to a statement, Niveus is the 42nd vendor to sign with the $500 million buying group.

The addition of Niveus' digital media-based products to the HTSA lineup marks the continuation of the group's effort to evolve and broaden its focus in order to remain competitive in the changing custom installation marketplace. Glikes first alluded to such changes at when he explained that he felt the group needed to work to provide solutions that offer more than a traditional video-centric experience.

Glikes expanded on his philosophy in March at the group's annual in Savannah, Ga., by pinpointing five categories — furniture, control and automation, networking, audio and lighting — in which he saw room for potential growth. At the time, he also announced partnerships with vendors who cater to some of those newer categories, such as TiVo, Touchstone Home Products and Sligh Furniture. — Additional reporting by John Laposky

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