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King Holds Court At PrimeTime!

King Parker, principal of King and Bunnys Appliances, an independent Whirlpool dealership based in Renton, Wash., says he wouldn’t be celebrating his 25th anniversary in business this year if not for Nationwide.

A longtime buying group holdout (“I didn’t want to give my money to the groups,” he said), Parker decided to hitch his wagon to Nationwide West 10 years ago as the competitive landscape changed. Today, he professes, “I would not be in business today if not for this buying group. That’s how important this organization is to us, and I can’t tell you what it means to my bottom line.”

Parker, a 20-year Sears’ veteran, said that the buying power of Nationwide West belies his diminutive size (a single 1,000-square-foot showroom) and allows him to be “very competitive on price with Sears, Best Buy and Home Depot.” Indeed, the store’s motto is “Home of the Whammer Deal,” a point he hammers home regularly through a series of homespun TV and radio spots featuring the Parker family.

Moreover, Nationwide-supplied inserts and a private-label credit card have proved “very, very important” to his business, and the group’s training materials allow him to “keep up on new models — and the competition.”

“Their credit programs and training programs are all available to me,” Parker said, “and I get great deals at these shows. The volume rebates allow us to be competitive and maximize profitability.”

Of course, buying group membership alone does not guarantee success. Parker also credits his knowledgeable, five-person staff with “providing a level of service” unavailable from the national chains. “We provide same-day, on-time delivery, and I answer my own phone. That’s why market share is going up for the independents. We do a better job of service and assortment.”

The business itself, located near Boeing headquarters, offers 150 models under the Roper, Estate, Whirlpool and KitchenAid brands. “I learned the formula at Sears: Offer a good-better-best assortment and a guarantee of satisfaction or your money back. It works.”

In fact, buoyed by a wave of new development in the area and a robust remodeling business, King and Bunnys enjoyed a banner year in 2005. And, with Nationwide West behind him, Parker expects that the good times will continue to roll.