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Dealer Pride 1998

Abt Pride Is In Service
By Jamie Latshaw

MORTON GROVE, Ill.--It's Bob Abt's insistence on superior customer service that repeatedly brings his customers back to his store, Abt Electronics and Appliances. His motto, "The Answer is Always 'Yes' to Any Reasonable Request," hangs on the wall to remind employees who's got the right of way.

His secret is simple. "Keep the customer happy," he said. From the quick, friendly greeting and the honest product advice to the customers, Abt follows through with delivery, installation and future service of the product. Abt Electronics began as Abt Radio during the depression, started with $800 by Dave and Jewel Abt.

Bob's three sons, Mike, Billy and Ricky, along with Philip Hannon, a long-time friend, round out the Abt (business) family tree. The store is faithful to its Chicagoland customers but has moved out of its original Chicago location to its second store in Niles, Ill., and most recently to its current Morton Grove location, which has been recently expanded to add 50 percent more to the showroom and 40 percent more to the warehouse.

The progressive expansion along with an impressive breadth of product has kept the store successful throughout its 63 years in business.

The store has grown from three employees with one delivery truck to a structure that sits on 9 1/2 acres of land and a business that employs more than 600 people and makes as many as 575 delivery and service calls a day.

The most recent addition to the store opened for business in May 1998. The mobile electronics division includes a large install bay, a showroom with a wall of woofers, a mobile multimedia display and computer that matches a specific car's make, model and year to product.

After only a month and a half of operation, the mobile electronics team already completed the sale and install of Dennis Rodman's car audio system.

Abt's appliance product mix offers mainstream brands and features the high-end names--Viking Range, Sub-Zero and Wolf Range, to name a few--in mock-up kitchens right on the sales floor.

The home theater lineup is just as extensive, with rooms that show off Vidikron projectors, screens that slide-down from the ceiling and speakers as high in price as $80,000 a pair. Abt stocks the leather sofas from the home theater showrooms for potential sales.

In addition to service, Abt is also known for presentation. A ring of video cameras surrounds a 1,200-gallon saltwater fishtank for diplay and entertainment purposes.

The company's success hasn't gone unrecognized. Ealier this spring, Abt was given honorable mention in the Better Business Bureau's National Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics, an honor the company added to its wall of recognition, which already includes over 30 awards.

Copyright 1998 | North American Publishing Company | All Rights Reserved