2010 Hall Of Fame : Billy & Mike Temiz, 6th Avenue Electronics
‘True Merchants’January 2010 By Text & Photo By Jeff O’Heir
Mike and Billy Temiz have never hidden their ambitions for the 17-store 6th Avenue Electronics chain they've run for 27 years. The long-term game plan is even more apparent when you walk into Mike's office at the retailer's headquarters here in Springfield, N.J.
Lying against the wall is a large rendering of the company's new 500,000-square-foot headquarters the brothers plan to open early this year. Located in Somerset, N.J., the former Toys"R"Us headquarters will house 6th Ave.'s corporate operations and a new distribution warehouse designed to serve all of the stores. The warehouse not only provides the retailer with logistical efficiencies—it also sets a solid foundation for expansion.
"The warehouse is very important because now we can grow our business," said Billy, the chairman of the company.
That certainly doesn't mean the company has stood still since Billy left his textile business in Istanbul, Turkey, moved to the U.S. and opened up 6th Ave. Electronics in New York City in 1982.
Mike, company president, had been working in Billy's business since he was a kid. He left school at 14 and ran the company off and on for three years when his brother was setting things up here. He came over right after Billy started 21st Century Electronics, which closed in 1989, and worked with his brother to establish the 6th Avenue store a few months later. A third brother Leon, who worked as chief executive officer, also helped to grow the business. Leon sold his shares to his brothers in 2003 and has since established his own chain of successful CE stores, Electronics Expo, in the New Jersey area.
Today, Billy, 57, and Mike, 41, along with their right-hand man Tom Galanis, vice president of operations, remain the driving forces behind 6th Ave. In terms of expansion, the brothers said they'll take the same approach in the future they've taken in the past: carefully choosing the right location with the right demographic.
So far, the strategy has worked. For 2009, the company projected sales of $360 million through 17 stores, compared to $330 million in sales through 14 stores in 2008. Last year, 6th Ave. made some big moves, venturing from its New Jersey and New York roots to Montgomeryville, Pa., and Wilmington, Del. After the brothers open a store, chances are they'll open more in the area, mainly as a way to leverage advertising and marketing spends.