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The Evolution Of A Shopping Empire

With its expansive sales space and astonishing array of merchandise, Abt Electronics continues to expand, taking the 21st century shopping experience to new heights.

August 2009

By Bridget G. Johnson

"We are a destination location – a family-oriented one-stop-shop," explains sales representative Susan Schroeher when asked to describe Abt Electronics, the family-owned and operated retailer of electronics and appliances in suburban Glenview. With its astonishing variety of amenities, including a 7,500-gallon aquarium and a variety of home theater vignettes, Abt's 65,000-square-foot showroom provides customers with an unparalleled shopping experience. Despite its expansive size and continued growth, Abt strives to create a personalized and inviting experience for visitors that reflects its family-owned history.

Abt offers a huge selection of televisions, from big screen plasmas to miniature sets for the kitchen. Comcast and Direct TV representatives also work within the showroom to streamline the installation process. Image courtesy of Sony TV.

The staff in each department is trained intensively to help customers make educated decisions when making complicated purchases, such as when shopping for large scale appliances like washers and dryers. Image courtesy of Whirlpool.

Launched in 1936 in Logan Square, Abt Radio began as a tiny storefront with three employees led by founders David and Jewel Abt. As the company grew, there were several locations, expanding with each new move. Currently Abt sits on 37 acres of land, has a staff of more than 1,100, including third-generation members of the Abt family, and operates a fleet of 225 vehicles that provide 6,000 service calls and deliveries weekly. Unsurprisingly, it's the nation's largest single store appliance and consumer electronics dealer.

Abt offers the latest technology in televisions, sound systems, radios and navigation systems for customers' homes and vehicles. At Abt, individual customization is key. Image courtesy of Jenn Air.

Abt's signature vignettes are intended to help open up the prospective buyer's imagination. The object of the models is to offer a more approachable method of planning and designing a home. Image courtesy of KitchenAid.

Appliances such as Sub-Zero and Wolf are staged in mini-kitchen or living space "vignettes" to enhance accessibility for shoppers; brands like Bang & Olufsen, Apple and Sony reside in their own mini-stores within a light-filled atrium based around a lush fountain garden. Abt also installs and services every item it sells.

Susan notes that she often works with customers in the complicated process of building a home. At Abt, their effort is eased as nearly all components can be found right on the premises. Image courtesy of Electrolux.

©2009 Leigh Communications. All rights reserved.

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