2011 Hall of Fame: Saul Robbins, Founder of HiFi House
One of Robbins' favorite sales took place about four years into the business when he called on his old boss, the one who fired him. Robbins thanked him for giving him the boot and proceeded to sell him a $4,000 system for his warehouse. "You've heard of the old adage: Don't get mad, get even?" Robbins said, with a smile from the Broomall showroom.
Within a few years, Robbins' father in-law, Morris Freedman, retired, ceded the store to Robbins and began working for him as a salesman. "He was a great salesman," Robbins said. He remembers a time when Freedman was in the store with his arm around a female customer explaining how the "walnut" cabinet of a system sounded much better than the unfinished version. "Walnut was all we had in stock," Robbins laughed. The extra help freed Robbins to focus on what was the very early days of the custom market: taking empty cabinets and outfitting them with Fisher or Harman Kardon amplifiers and receivers, Jensen speakers and Garrard record changers, among other brands. He also increased his installation services.
Up to his retirement in the late 1980s, Robbins, 82, sold just about every notable audio and video line and witnessed the biggest changes in the market. One of the most important to the business was the transition from tube to transistors, which introduced to U.S. market the major Japanese companies and their lines of more reliable and affordable gear. Japanese engineers would also visit him to find out what they should add to the product to make them more valuable to consumers.