November 1, 2007
I started writing this year’s introduction with a fond look back over the past 30 years; but the more I looked back, the more excited I felt about the future. Everything we have done over the past thirty years has led to the enormous opportunities that stretch out before us. As good as the past thirty years have been, the next thirty hold even more promise.
The retail landscape has certainly changed dramatically over the past ten years. The internet, WalMart, and Costco [who haven’t made it to WNY yet, but promise to shortly] have all but rendered Best Buy and Circuit City as a useless afterthought – an anachronism in the unforgiving landscape of mass merchants. Consumer electronics has become a world of commodity purchases, and the most effective way of supplying the masses is through the aforementioned monsters of the midway. The internet, WalMart, and Costco are not going away, but best Buy and Circuit City certainly are. It is what it is.
So, where does that leave us? Fortunately, for us, there remains a significant sector of the market that is populated by a demanding and discerning customer. A customer that demands quality product, quality information, quality design, quality installation, and quality service [and can discern the difference]. This is not the customer who is going to buy a five hundred dollar 42″ plasma at WalMart and then just throw it up on the wall. This is the customer who will work with our Smart House System Designers to develop an in-home [or in-office] solution for all of their audio/video/information needs, and then look to us for the type of world class installation, training, and service that will maximize the performance of the entire system. The same holds true for our clothing division. At Tony Walker & Co., we provide the finest premium fashion clothing, footwear, jewelry, skin care, and accessories for the same demanding and discerning customer.
At the Advantage, we know who we are, and we are committed to providing you with the finest product, design, and services that you demand and deserve. The bottom line is that our customers know the difference.
We just wrapped up our semi-annual Committee meeting in Florida . We spent a few days talking about our three year strategy for the Advantage, knowing instinctively that the seeds we plant today will be ready for harvest in 2010 [that’s our three year merchant harvest time]. We all left the trip excited about the present, the future, and 2010 in particular [which should prove to be a remarkable year for every division of the Advantage Co.]. Here’s a glimpse of what’s planned for the next few years at the Advantage:
HD-Day will arrive on February 17th, 2009. This event will drive our Smart House crazy right through the football season, culminating in a HDTV frenzy leading up to the Super Bowl in February of 2010. Our Smart House System Designers and Smart Squad represent the absolute standard in our industry, and no one will be better prepared to handle this opportunity. HD-Day is the event we’ve been building for.
Our new Smart Office will be in full swing by 2010, and we’ll be Bohnerizing fully loaded offices around the world [Kevin recently returned from a Polycom video-conferencing installation in Vienna , Austria ]. Information, computer, internet, audio, and video technologies will allow us to provide our customers with solutions for direct visual and audio contact anywhere in the world with HD quality. One source will control the stream of information and output to any location. The possibilities are limitless. Our Smart Squad will use the new Smart Office as a catalyst for combining our audio/video design, programming, and installation skills with our IT resources. By 2010, the Smart Squad will boast a variety of professional services that go well beyond audio/video installation, and Smart House Security will be fully integrated into our lineup.
The Smart Car Stores [in conjunction with Northtown Auto] should be in car dealerships nationwide by 2010.
Our internet JumpSite strategy [including SonyLink, MyWarehouse.org, Never Lose a Sale , and the College Rep Program] will be launched in 2008 and be an online force by 2010.
Lifetime Service will continue to grow nationally and should double in size every three years. We plan on turning over the entire Wehrle facility to them by 2010 [or adding another 30k sq’ to their existing space].
Tony Walker & Co. will continue to gobble up space in the Walker Center . In 2008, we’ll be adding complete lingerie and jewelry departments, and by 2010 we expect to be online in full force.
And 2010 will also prove to be the start of the largest exodus of management from the workforce in the history of mankind. The first of the baby-boomers [born in 1945] will be reaching age 65 and retiring in droves. This is a remarkable opportunity for our Advantage Professionals’ offices nationwide.
So, we’re packed and ready to go, but, when I do look back, I see all of the customers who made it happen. If we didn’t have the smartest customers in the world, we wouldn’t have these opportunities before us.