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Family Owned and Operated Abt Electronics Celebrates 85 Years in Business

Award-Winning Glenview, Il., Retailer Continues its Decades of Growth and Success with Unprecedented Expansion in 2021

June, 2021

GLENVIEW, IL., June 8, 2021 — Abt Electronics, which opened its doors in 1936 as a small store-front Chicago radio shop with three employees, is celebrating 85 years in business this month. The retailer has experienced massive growth and success, moving to larger locations four times over the years. Abt now employs over 1,700 staff and boasts a 114,000-square-foot showroom on 68 acres in Glenview, Illinois, and is widely known as the country's largest independently-owned, single-location retailer of electronics, appliances and home goods.

Abt is a unique American success story. It has been owned and run by its founding family for more than eight decades, staying relevant and continually growing by double digits every year in its long history. Abt will celebrate its 85th anniversary throughout June by sharing milestones and memories of the family, longtime employees and loyal customers. The retailer is also marking the occasion with significant expansion projects, including a recently completed 30,000-square-foot Recycling Center with the ability to recycle 95 percent of Abt's own waste. Abt is also building an additional warehouse of nearly 430,00 square feet that will more than double the inventory space and make room for an expanded fleet of delivery and service trucks. The project is expected to be completed in October 2021.

Abt's history is legendary. It began when Jewel Abt loaned her husband, David, $800 to open a small electronics shop in Chicago's Logan Square neighborhood. The store was a hit with local customers and became a neighborhood mainstay. The couple eventually passed the baton to their son, Bob, who spearheaded significant growth over the years that eventually led to his dream retail "destination location" in Glenview. The store annually attracts more than one million visitors from near and far who come to experience the huge showroom built around a bustling atrium with marble floors, an elaborate fountain and boutique shops inspired by the hotels of Las Vegas, Bob Abt's favorite place to visit.

Abt has always been on the forefront of retail innovation through more than just its offerings and continual expansion. In the 1990s, Abt became an early adopter and leader in e-commerce, growing the site into a major national retail competitor. Abt is known for its stellar customer service, fully staffed around the clock from its Glenview location. Customers will never talk with someone from an overseas call center.

Today, Abt is run by the third generation of the family. Brothers Mike, Ricky, Jon and Billy, who share the title of co-president, are focused on keeping Abt competitive in a struggling retail environment. As big box retailers continue to cut back, Abt consistently shows growth by introducing cutting-edge green initiatives, upgrading to the latest technologies and providing the best customer service practices in the industry. And Abt provides more than just delivery. Their technicians are trained to do installation and repair. These in-house services are not offered by most of their competitors. Abt is continuously recognized for its achievements, receiving many of the top retail awards in the industry. Abt has also been named one of the Chicago Tribune's Top Large Workplaces in Chicago for 10 consecutive years (taking the top spot for four of those years).

"As we celebrate this milestone of 85 years in business, we're proud to look back on how our family and the great people who have worked for us have been able to not only keep Abt in business longer than most, but build a company that is a longstanding leader in a competitive industry," says Co-president Mike Abt. "We know our grandparents would be proud to see where we are today."

Abt has experienced impressive sales growth in recent years, particularly in 2020. As the pandemic raged and many businesses suffered, the company saw record sales and increases in month-over-month revenue of more than 30 percent. As Abt continues to grow, its next big project is an impressive warehouse expansion, which will help meet demand and increase efficiency. Co-president Jon Abt says the retailer's success, in spite of the pandemic, is the result of being nimble and pivoting, a strategy that helped the e-commerce site thrive during these extraordinary times. "We took advantage of the opportunity to highlight the services that help us compete with big box retailers and e-commerce giants — such as same-day local delivery, curbside pickup, price matching and world-class customer service including offering installation and repair."

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Charisse Barnachea, Mekky Media Relations
[email protected]

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