Sound Advice, the highly-regarded 33-store specialty chain that become Tweeter’s most prolific acquisition before going down with that ship
, is returning to Florida led by former executives Peter Beshouri and Michael Blumberg.
The duo acquired the rights to Sound Advice’s brand, former logo, mailing lists and URL as part of Tweeter’s prolonged bankruptcy sale conducted by Atlanta-based Apto Solutions
“I paid a lot,” Beshouri tells CE Pro, declining to name the price. “But it’s worth it.”
In addition to the intellectual properties, Beshouri says his new company will hit the market with an army of well-trained former Sound Advice employees and “millions of Sound Advice customers.”
Those factors, he says, will give the new Sound Advice a huge advantage as it targets a September relaunch of soundadvice.com
and new showroom openings beginning later in the fall.
A day after news of the brand purchase broke, Beshouri says he has received 500 inquiries from former Sound Advice employees asking how they can help.
The plan, he says, is to hire many as direct Sound Advice employees and have many others work on a contract basis — and to always have customers interact with employees that know how to represent Sound Advice’s brand.
The Sound Advice brand is being reborn in a far different market
than what existed in 2001 when the Dania Beach, Fla.-based company was acquired by Tweeter
. Fewer specialty retailers with large footprints have led to manufacturers developing less step-up products with limited distribution. Hence, it’s more of a challenge for specialty retailers to differentiate themselves.
Beshouri doesn’t see it that way.
“Do I think manufacturers don’t develop high-end stuff anymore? No.
“It’s like it was when we started in the 1970s. The bigger players will sell the low-end stuff and the better players will sell the stuff that takes more work. We’re going to sell both, like we always did.”
That’s not to say that the new Sound Advice won’t be different than the old one. For one thing, it will be far more Internet-centric, but Beshouri says “we’re going to develop a site that’s drive by the way people buy today.”
One online feature, he envisions, is the ability for customers to quickly set up an in-home consultation that can take place 12, 24 or 36 hours later “even if the customer goes online at 3 a.m.”
The stores will be smaller. The old Sound Advice stores were about 16,000 square feet and the new ones will be about 5,000 square feet. However, the new iteration of the company won’t offer mobile electronics, mobile electronics installation, in-home custom installation or high-volume product displays and storage.
Remove the square footage needed for those features, Beshouri points out, and you’re down to about 6,000 square feet. “We’re not going to be a lot different than that. We’re going to be speaker and audio-centric and we’re going to show all sorts of solutions for the home and the pool area. There won’t be a video wall, but there will be all sorts of applications on display for video — TVs behind the bed, on the wall, behind mirrors, in the kitchen. And we’ll also show that exact same path on our website.
“People are still going to come into Sound Advice and be wowed. It’s going to be real pretty, real sophisticated.”
Other Tweeter Brands
The sale of Sound Advice’s brand is just the first of Tweeter’s intellectual property to be sold off
, according to Christopher Re, VP business development for Apto Solutions.
Tweeter, of course, had also acquired
well-established regional brands such as HiFi Buys, Bryn Mawr Stereo & Video, United Audio and more.
“We’re looking at several deals for the other brands and this is a good first step,” Re tells CE Pro.
Interested parties include retailers and investors, he says, but declines to name names.
Obviously, given that Tweeter shuttered in December 2008
, these sales are taking quite a while. Re says the biggest obstacles in the Sound Advice negotiations simply related to the economy. “It was really about taking that risky step and he [Beshouri] was the first to make the step. I think we’ll have several others follow.”
Beshouri, for his part, feels that he has mitigated the risk by re-launching the brand with established manpower and a lingering customer base. He points out that his friend and colleague Jon Myer, whose specialty electronics chain MyerEmco closed
in February 2010, is also poised to leverage his company’s Washington D.C. roots.
He adds that Sound Advice and Jon Myer will collaborate.
“He’s coming back in a different but similar way to what we’re doing. We are going to share information and website layout and store look and design. We’re real close. He has a wonderful robust history there [in the D.C. area].