Abt Electronics Reclaims CE/Majap Throne
By: Alan Wolf | October 3, 2011
NEW YORK – From its humble beginnings 75 years ago as a Chicago radio store, family-run Abt Electronics has blossomed into a 360,000-square-foot shopping mecca and warehouse that is beloved and admired by vendors, fellow merchants and generations of loyal Chicagoans alike.
Manufacturers are rapt for Abt’s fairness, ethics, professionalism and idealized presentation, and have chosen it for numerous product launches. Abt.com, the company’s pioneering e-commerce site, was also one of only a handful of authorized online retailers for brands like Sony, Panasonic, Toshiba, Bose and Onkyo when it launched in 1998.
Similarly, its working-class to celebrity clientele comes to the environmentally friendly Glenview, Ill., facility for its expert sales advice, expansive entry-level to super-premium assortment, competitive prices, hassle-free returns and consummate customer service. Kids (and parents) are also enamored of its whimsical attractions — including a bubble machine and signature 7,500-gallon salt water aquarium surrounded by live demo cameras and HD camcorders — which makes the store a family destination.
The showroom features its own premium mini-mall with Apple, Bang & Olufsen, Dacor, Sony and Subzero/Wolf boutiques, plus dedicated shops for computers, wristwatches and gourmet cooking. Newer categories include fitness, HVAC, electric generators and sump pumps.
Co-president Mike Abt said the company’s philosophy is to take care of the customer regardless of the cost, as exemplified by its loss-leading in-house repair service.
To brother and co-president Billy Abt, it comes down to “treating people right and continuing to re-invent ourselves while offering the lowest prices possible and the best sales staff in the industry.”
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