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1208 4th Avenue SW, Spencer, Iowa 51301

712-262-2455, (No Web site)

Michael Fischer, president

Annual Sales: not available

Number of Stores: 2

Product Mix: Consumer electronics, major appliances

Spencer, Iowa— Nielsen’s finally expanded last December to a 12,000-square-foot store that was four years in the making, said Michael Fisher, president of the brown and white goods business and also the current chairman of the North American Retail Dealers Association (NARDA).

The benefits of the expansion are being felt in a mixed economy during this, the retailer’s 80th anniversary year. For a company that started selling radiator equipment, then tires, then electronics/appliances, its position as a retailer of HDTV has been, at the very least, involved.

Fisher explained that the second store was a “business and marketing decision,” but it was also about “appearances.” He noted, “If you have the right products and the expertise to sell them effectively, but your store doesn’t appear like that, then the rest doesn’t matter.” The new store, featuring live kitchens, custom home installation areas, a well-trained sales staff and a good location, has paid off.

Fisher added, “I’ve been telling our people for months, if your store looks like a ‘mom-and-pop’ store you will have the business of a ‘mom-and-pop’ store. Of course the reverse is true.”

This retailer believes in being this close to major competitors, with the new store situated “33 feet from a Wal-Mart.” The dynamics of Spencer’s retail district has changed, with more stores attracted to this area, drawing customers from outside the county. “I’ve told my guys that I’ll be glad to take 1 percent of all the customers coming to the Wal-Mart parking lot.”

Since the new store opened, “We have sold more high-end product in eight months than we have in two years. It goes to show that if you have the right product and explain and display it properly, consumers will buy.”