360 N. 48th Street, Lincoln, Neb. 68504
Ron Romero, president
Annual Sales (fiscal 2002): $13 million
Number of Stores: 1
Product Mix: Consumer electronics, major appliances
Lincoln, Neb.— Newcomers to electronics/appliance retailing often wonder about the synergies in selling both types of products. For the uninitiated, the growth in the business of Schaefer's TV & Appliance Center is a case in point.
Ron Romero, president of the company, said Schaefer's got into the custom installation business in electronics, based on its experience with appliance installations.
"We quickly realized that customers who want an upscale kitchen are the same customers who are willing to buy upscale custom installations of consumer electronics, he said."
Romero, a past president of the North American Retail Dealers Association (NARDA) and a director with the Nationwide West chapter of the Nationwide TV & Appliance buying group, said in discussing this trend with other retailers, "You need the right people to do this. With our company, under our contract sales manager Ronnie Romero and electronics manager/buyer Steve Kleinschmidt, the business has blossomed. They have worked well to train our staff."
And not only does Schaefer's do custom installations for existing homes, it is also in the growing new construction market.
The results have been strong for Schaefer's. The retailer began selling HDTVs over four years ago before there were HDTV broadcasts in the area. "We told customers, 'It's the future! Your picture will improve now!'" Now Schaefer's is selling plenty of "big-screen, LCD, plasma TVs, really all digital formats" as HDTV broadcasts began here.
The bottom line for Schaefer's is that traditionally its sales have been split 60 percent for appliances and 40 percent for consumer electronics. While both businesses are growing, Romero said, "Due to the higher-ticketed HDTV monitors, our CE sales [percentage] may increase" when the final numbers are in for Schaefer's fiscal year, which ends this fall.