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Ex Panasonic Exec To Take Over Vann’s

Chain will remain intact, includes The ON Store

November 9, 2012 By Jeff O'Heir
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Greg Regelbrugge, vice president national accounts, Western U.S., is leaving that post today to become president and CEO of Vann's.

Holding company McMagic Partners LP, part of the Khaledi Group, closed a $4.5 million dollar deal on the bankrupt consumer electronics and appliance dealer Tuesday. The Texas-based Khaledi Group manages dozens of companies, including the HK Global Duty Free chain of electronics stores.

The new company, Vann's Acquisition LLC, will retain the retailer's five stores throughout Montana, as well as The ON Store, a boutique retailer that focuses on Apple and related digital products; and, at least for now, Bigskycountry.com, an online retailer of outdoor products and apparel.

"We'll definitely keep The ON Store, but we're trying to understand the value of Bigskycountry.com," said Regelbrugge, who'll start his new job next week. "The Vann's stores and The ON Store are the core of the company."

The new company has no plans to close any stores, lay off employees or execute any major changes, Regelbrugge said.

Vann's filed for bankruptcy in August, following the departure of long-time CEO George Manlove. Despite the bankruptcy, Regelbrugge, who's one of three owners of the new company, said Vann's is still a viable retailer. He and his team reviewed seven year's of company records and found that Vann's had maintained fairly consistent sales and gross margins during that time. One of Vann's biggest problems, Regelbrugge said, was that it had started The ON Store and Bigskycountry.com with its own money instead of first raising the capital.

"We took a close look at some of the tactical errors that cost the company lot of money," he said, adding that Peter Vann, the chain's founder, was helpful in leading the group through the acquisition. "If we don't make those mistakes, we'll get back to the core that has made Vann's great for the last 50 years. It's a great company with a strong foundation."

Regelbrugge is no stranger to the CE retail space. Prior to Panasonic, he had worked as director of sales at LG, and as regional sales manager of DirectTV and Sharp Electronics. He began his CE career in the early 1990s as a sales associate and store manager at Circuit City in Texas.

"The sales and management experience at Circuit City really helped me at Sharp, LG and Panasonic," he said. "And then I spend most of my career on the manufacturing side working with dealers to show them how to best sell the products and make a profit on them."


 

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