BrandSource Launches Mission-Specific Programs in Vegas

Group’s 2014 Convention and Expo attracts more dealers, reflecting membership growth

Las Vegas’ Caesars Palace played host to the BrandSource 2014 Convention and Expo this week, welcoming dealers from the around the country. Attendees were met with live entertainment courtesy of Lonestar, an impeccable show floor, seminars and training programs, and even complimentary health screenings to supplement the group’s new focus on individual health. During the opening presentation, Bob Lawrence, BrandSource CEO, who will be stepping down at the end of the year, asked, “How can we expect to have a healthy company if its individuals aren’t healthy?”

According to Lawrence, the convention saw an increase in dealership attendance, indicative of the group’s growing membership. “Membership is growing,” says Lawrence. “The biggest problem [is] independent retailers closing. And it’s not just ours, it’s anybody in retail. There’s nobody to take over the business so it just closes and that is the biggest challenge for our industry… The problem is, where do you find potential [succession] candidates?”

To combat this problem, BrandSource has partnered with California State University, Fullerton. The school will offer an MBA program made up of several candidates working on their thesis entailing how to solve one of the industry’s prevalent issues.

“It’s an industry problem,” says Lawrence. “We’ll solve it for ourselves first, and then we’ll solve it for the industry.”

The group is also home to Young Professionals and Women in Business, two ventures created to help the industry as a whole.

The industry is optimistic about the year’s balance. According to Lawrence, business is expected to tick up going into the holiday season, with pressure to purchase new appliances increased with the onset of family events during the holidays. “People have company coming for Thanksgiving and they only have one burner working so it’s time to buy a new range.”

Jim Ristow, co-president and chief business officer of ProSource, a division of BrandSource, is expecting a holiday boom in UHD/4K television sales as well as OLED sets. “We’re going to be selling more 4K between now and the end of the year than we’ve shipped of 4K from when they started shipping,” Ristow says. “It’s just going to explode. And because it’s happening so quickly, our members are going to have to act quickly. because profitability is also going to be an issue.”