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MARTA Adds Two Members

The MARTA Cooperative of America has added two new members to the fold, bringing the buying group’s dealer roster up to 108.

The latest additions are Stereo Shoppe, located in Rochester, N.Y., and ApplianceSmart, the Minneapolis, Minn.-based factory outlet chain.

The latter, a subsidiary of Appliance Recycling Centers of America (ARCA), operates nine factory outlets stores — including a 50,000 square foot flagship unit — that carry closeouts, factory overruns and scratch-and-dent models from Whirlpool, Maytag and Frigidaire. Last year the business netted $22 million in sales, opened four new stores and continued its expansion into traditional, factory-fresh majaps retailing. As many as four more stores are planned for this year, including a 30,000-square-foot superstore that was scheduled to open last month.

In other MARTA matters, the group’s board has decided to reduce the number of annual meetings from three to two. The action follows MARTA’s new strategic tack of bringing its membership together for coordinated activities at the key CES, K/BIS and CEDIA trade shows. The next full-scale MARTA meeting is slated for Aug. 23 at the Princess Resort in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Looking back, MARTA executive director Warren Mann reported that all but one of its members experienced growth in 2001, and that many, if not most, enjoyed their best year ever. Several major suppliers saw their MARTA business grow in excess of 20 percent, he said, as the group “picked up significant market share vs. national accounts in our markets.”