Almo Pro A/V E4 Tour Reaches Record Attendance

Almo president/CEO Warren Chaiken (left) and Almo Professional A/V EVP/COO Sam Taylor (right) flank Samsung Electronics America president Tim Baxter in front of a 65-inch Samsung Ultra HDTV.

Harman Professional’s full suite of products, including JBL speakers, is now available at Almo. Shown with the speakers are Frank Taylor and Sam Helms of rep firm Sigmet.

Distributor Almo Corp. held its fourth and final Almo Pro A/V E4 Expo of the calendar year in the Metro New York City area Nov. 13, attracting over 600 pre-registered dealers to the one-day event – up from about 400 attendees in 2012. Thirty-five vendors ringed the perimeter of the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus, N.J., showing their newest products to dealers, who also availed themselves of 11 educational courses that counted towards InfoComm CTS certification renewals.

Four new vendors – Barco, Epson, ClearOne and Harman Professional – joined the exhibitor ranks this year, but Almo’s vendor number remains stable at about 35, said Sam Taylor, Almo Pro A/V’s executive vice president and COO. “We’re selective about the partners we choose,” he said. “We always look for ‘solution’ lines for our dealers – for vendors who can provide their training and technical expertise.”

Digital signage and video conferencing products are among the hottest product areas moving into 2014, as are large-format video displays, which are increasingly replacing projector use in smaller venues, with projectors still dominant in large venues such as houses of worship, Taylor said. For next year, he said he expects interactivity in displays to become even more dominant as a feature.

Almo president and CEO Warren Chaiken pointed out that among the best benefits his company offers dealers and vendors to smooth communications between them – one that he said none of his competitors offers – is access to a six-person business development team. “We’ll never be the cheapest solution, but they really give us a value-add. While our sales team is out on the road, they help design systems and are closely tied to our vendor partners.”

Taylor said the pro division’s business is up 25 percent year over year for 2013, “and we expect it to continue that way.” “The ‘gotcha’ out there is the government,” added Chaiken, citing uneasiness on the consumer side and also worries over additional government shutdowns, which could “cause hiccups” affecting pro dealers’ integration jobs for the government.

Next year will mark the fifth anniversary of Almo Pro A/V’s E4 road shows, which will again number four (two in the spring and two in the fall) and in 2014, will take place in the D.C. area, Orlando, Dallas and New Jersey.

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