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5-Minute Interview: Bob Gartland

AVAD, a Van Nuys, CA-based AV products distributor for the custom installation market. In July 2005, Ingram Micro Inc. acquired AVAD, making Ingram Micro the leading U.S. distributor for solution providers and custom installers serving the consumer electronics and home automation markets.

AVAD, a Van Nuys, CA-based AV products distributor for the custom installation market.

In July 2005, Ingram Micro Inc. acquired AVAD, making Ingram Micro the leading U.S. distributor for solution providers and custom installers serving the consumer electronics and home automation markets.

Pro AV:Since Ingram Micro acquired AVAD, there's been speculation about cross-channel merchandising. Do you expect that to eventually occur?

Gartland: We don't really plan on that occurring because the dealer bases are so dramatically different. There's been nothing instituted to encourage crossover between dealers, so we have very little crossover today. If dealers migrate on their own, then we'll evaluate those businesses one at a time. But there's been no cross-pollination so far.

Pro AV:Does AVAD have plans for entering any other vertical markets?

Gartland: We see a number of opportunities in other adjacent or vertical markets, but right now we're focused on expanding our core business and opening more locations. That will take most of our time in the next few years. We have a very aggressive expansion plan for six new locations that will open in 2006, which is a fairly sizable undertaking.

Pro AV:Some convergence trends have caused many custom electronics installers to be wary of the IT industry. In the pro AV industry, there are similar concerns. How have AVAD dealers accepted the acquisition?

Gartland: Six months later, AVAD is pretty much the same as before. The same people are making decisions; the same kinds of decisions are being made; the same kinds of dealers are being given access to the products they had access to before; and the same dealers who weren't authorized before still aren't authorized. There's always a little trepidation, but I think the proof is in the pudding that nothing has changed at AVAD.

Pro AV:What kind of qualifications do dealers need to become an AVAD dealer?

Gartland: Fundamentally we're looking for dealers who are wholly committed to the custom installation home entertainment industry. We're not looking for dealers whose primary business is somewhere else, but also want to dabble in the home entertainment business. We look for trade references, CEDIA certifications, and other training benchmarks that give us comfort that this dealer is committed to providing a positive result to the end-user. We don't actively recruit. Outside of that, dealers can contact us or go to our website to get a dealer application, which is then measured against our basic standards.

Pro AV:With different dealers in different locations, how do you ensure consistent quality company wide?

Gartland: That's a very big challenge considering that we were 11 separate companies up until July 8th, 2005. We've been working over the past three or four years with the individual AVAD dealers to share how we do things, share best practices, and operate as uniformly across the country as possible. Now that we're one company, we've added some corporate staff to help us go through the various elements of our business and work on those things.

 


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