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2012 Dealerscope 40 Under 40 Features Explosion of New Talent

June 2012
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When we asked this year's group of 40 Under 40 industry stars to share their take on the state of the economy, one of our favorite answers came from Micah Williams, owner of Sonus Car Audio in Clarksville, Tenn.

"Our outlook is if you're going to stand behind the counter, clerk boxes and compete on price then the economy is bad," he said.

Instead, Williams and his crew make sure all products on the sales floor are out of boxes and on display for full demonstration. All customers are greeted and treated like friends. Each employee is encouraged to stay on script and empowered to sell themselves and the benefits of the business, as opposed to the product. The result has been double-digit revenue increases between 2009 and 2010, with sales already up 18 percent this year.

"If you stay on top of what you do, price is irrelevant," he said.

You'll find similar business tips, strategies and insights from the rest of this year's inductees in the following pages.

Jason Kaminski, director of sales and marketing at Compustar, a manufacturer of remote starters, GPS and car alarms, spends a lot of time on the road talking to big-box and independent retailers. He gets the clear sense that consumer confidence is improving, which is shared by retailers.

"There's a lot of excitement out there, more so than in recent years," he said. "Retailers were excited during the holidays, and they're excited now about the new technologies on the market. There are a lot of great opportunities for retailers and suppliers to market themselves through social networks and to offer the right product to fit their customers' requirements."

Windows 8 is one technology that George Ali, vice president of PC merchandising for Systemax (the parent company of TigerDirect and CompUSA), is looking forward to.

"The release will re-spark interest in this industry, coupled with new hardware tech coming out," he said. "We are in a valley stage right now, but we'll be going up in the next few months. I feel bullish about those months leading into 2013."

Christi Park, product manager of headphones and accessories at Coby, is also seeing signs of recovery. The outcome, though, is impacting some areas she didn't expect.

"For some reason I see a little 'catch 22.' The high-ticket and lower-ticket items do really well, instead of the middle of the road, which was predominant when the economy was down," she said. "It is a little strange, but people are still purchasing $300 headphones and iPads, but they also want value for money on the low end; fun products at a lower price point."


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