Michelle Troupe, Audio Video Buyer, Definitive Audio

Age: 34

Education: Coursework at University of Washington, Accounting Degree from Edmonds Community College

Career History: Troupe, a true Jane-of-all-trades, put herself through college while simultaneously holding down a full-time accounting position at a fast-growing Washington CE retail operation, Definitive Audio. Dabbling in the inventory and human resources departments, Troupe found herself becoming increasingly interested in the store’s products. At 20, she bought a 35-inch Mitshubishi TV. “My boyfriend was really jealous,” she laughed. “I love video, and I bought a great digital camera too. During my years on the business side, I was slowly getting to know our manufacturer reps and more importantly, our credit managers.”

Troupe’s business acumen and her relationships with vendors were catching the attention of the Definitive Audio management. When one of their buyers left the business, they gave Troupe a shot at the position. That internal promotion in 2000 was all the incentive Troupe needed to throw herself into all aspects of the company, from writing most of the store’s procedural manuals to producing sales events like the well-known Home Theater Experience. “I’ve grown right along with the company,” she said. “I found I could do a little bit of everything.”

Greatest Business Achievement: “I helped take the company to a bar-coding system, which increased turns and decreased inventory shrinkage by over 50 percent.”

Advice: “With this recession, we’ve gone back to the basics. We’re getting on the phone, connecting with our existing and non-active customers. We’re trying hard to get back into the customer’s home. Business isn’t what we’d like it to be right now, but whoever can weather this horrific storm is going to come out really strong in the end.”

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