Legendary Manhattan-based audio dealer Stereo Exchange literally took a new lease on its specialty retailing brand, with the grand opening last week of its relocated showroom at 857 Broadway in the bustling Union Square area.
The store is the latest iteration of owner Dave Wasserman’s business, which he started in the 1980s selling used audio equipment. Open seven days a week, it occupies about 1500 square feet of real estate that serves as a combination showroom/demo area on the third floor of the building.
Dave Wasserman, with a photo from the early days
While his store is no longer a street-level operation, and as such, does lend itself to appointment-only demos – only one demo at a time is possible as there are no separate sound rooms – Wasserman said that he is already getting walk-ins as customers and Stereo Exchange loyalists browse the web site and discover the new location, “We will do appointments, but we’re not ‘chichi.’ We explain the business model to customers when they come up. This model for the customer and the sales staff by far is so much better because we can give an individualized, great experience. A customer can come in, bring a bottle of wine and a couple of glasses and spend an hour.” He explained that that couldn’t happen in the old store – further south on Broadway, in the SoHo area, where “we would constantly get tourists. We’re not really a ‘browsing’ store. We are set up for customers who want real demos.”
Stereo Exchange’s staff: Glenn Marston, Dave Wasserman and Evan Fusco
Wasserman said Stereo Exchange is also cultivating the integration business, ‘mixing quality two-channel with custom.” Support staff who make this pursuit possible includes Glenn Marston and Evan Fusco, who bring long experience in high-end audio and custom installation to the enterprise.
Wasserman says most all the vendors who did business with him at his earlier location have also made the move, although now, he keeps mainly the top-end representative models of their lines on hand for demos.
Stereo Exchange, at its new Broadway address a stone's throw from NYC's busy Union Square
Besides cultivating custom, Wasserman said he is developing a separate online used-equipment business that will hark back to the store’s beginnings.
“I can’t tell you how many customers have come up to me and said, ‘We’re glad you’re here,’” said Wasserman. “We’re still having fun.”