Retail Excellence 2013: : Vance Pflanz, President of Pflanz ElectronicsAugust 1, 2013 By Nancy Klosek
Vance Pflanz is not only a premier purveyor in Sioux City, Iowa, of the immersive home entertainment experience. He and Pflanz Electronics, the business he has built as its president, are products of total immersion in the CE trade.
It’s been that way from the ground up, in 1958, when Pflanz, a hobbyist who built Dynaco PAT-4 and Stereo 120 audio components from kits, started out as a franchisee repairing TVs and selling vacuum tubes to other hobbyists. “We used to sell the audio kits, too, and when customers wired them together, sometimes they didn’t work.
Then they’d bring them back to me, and I’d fix ’em,” Pflanz said.
Fast forward to 2013. Pflanz no longer sells DIY kits. Instead, he sells complete solutions that he and his team make sure customers know how to use and enjoy before they walk out the door. What has not changed, though, is that Pflanz still sells the cutting-edge CE. And he runs his 25,000-square-foot showroom and Internet sales businesses with as much enthusiasm as he did on day one.
“I’m excited about 4K,” Pflanz said. “That’s what we’ve been advertising. It’s the next evolution in TV, and it’s here now. What I like about it is that every customer who comes into the store is a potential buyer, because nobody has it.” A showcase retailer for Sony, Pflanz recently hosted a 4K Sony event that attracted plenty of clients, as well as local TV coverage on the nightly and morning news programs.
How does Pflanz, whose single store competes in a marketplace with giants like Best Buy, Sears and Walmart, remain the venue of choice for the display of the next big thing for vendors like Sony?
“Vance is not only a smart businessman who knows his customers extremely well, but he is also known as the nicest person in the consumer electronics industry today,” said Mike Fasulo, executive vice president for Sony. “Vance has supported Sony in so many areas over the past 40 years, and our relationship continues to thrive as one of our truly valued partners.”
Sony and Pflanz’s other suppliers know the value that word of mouth holds in his ability to attract customers. While he is using social media, Pflanz credits the street buzz generated by the company’s customer services, as well as TV and radio advertising, for drawing a new, younger demographic online and in-store. He also does a five-minute weekly radio spot and an hour-long radio call-in show to spotlight new technologies and keep Pflanz Electronics front and center among listeners as the area’s electronics expert.