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ProSource Enters Second Year On Head Of Steam

SAN ANTONIO — The wind was clearly at Pro- Source’s back as the specialty A/V and custom integration dealer group convened here earlier this month at the La Cantera Resort for its 2015 Spring Meeting.

Now entering its second year since the formal merger of forerunner organizations PRO Group and Home Entertainment Source (HES), the 500-plus member co-op is coming off the best 12-month period ever for either entity.

Sales are up $1.4 billion, to $4.5 billion in member CE sell-through, reported president/CEO Dave Workman, owing to both organic growth and the contributions of new large-volume dealers.

Organic gains were enjoyed across all three core membership tiers – PRO, Power CI and CI – while a new contingent of associate members from the NATM Buying Corp. have given ProSource added sales clout.

ProSource board chairman Murray Huppin, principal of Huppin’s/OneCall, said the additions of NATM heavy-hitters like ABC Warehouse, Abt Electronics and Nebraska Furniture Mart were member-driven and mutually beneficial.

“As with ProSource, the larger dealers bring volume while the smaller dealers are strong in custom integration,” Huppin said. “It’s an over-used word but entirely appropriate here: it created synergy, and every addition strengthened the continuum.”

Added Workman: “The puzzle was how to get to the tipping point, how to get a seat at the table. Up to now it was Best Buy’s ball; now we have a seat at the table in certain categories, not just for developing programs but to also have a voice in strategy.”

Next up for ProSource is implementing new infrastructure improvements including an electronic funds transfer system and information database for members, and leveraging the group’s new, dedicated field management structure designed to provide more specialized support to members.

ProSource is also placing added emphasis on recruitment, as reflected in the recent addition of 29 new custom-integration members.

Meanwhile, Jim Ristow, CEO of parent group BrandSource/AVB and former head of HES, plans to bring the ProSource membership-tier model he and Workman created to each of the umbrella organization’s verticals.

“We had the blueprint five years ago,” Ristow said, “and now the concept of one plus one equals three is coming to life.”