Almo, a Philadelphia-based distributor of major appliances and consumer electronics, held an open house event at a Holiday Inn in Harrisburg, PA June 13. Highlights of the event included two Frigidaire training sessions and a product demonstration room where dealers could meet with both manufacturers and Almo representatives. Almo’s Stephen Hesse noted that the distributor has about 100 dealers in the Harrisburg area, and that events like this are a great opportunity for them to see products first hand. Among the CE manufacturers participating in the event were Polaroid, Philips, Pioneer, Panasonic, Westinghouse and Coby.
All of the participants rated flat panel TVs as high on their radar, and exhibitors were ready to show off their current products. Philips’ rep noted that the company’s AmbiLight products are actually doing better than the distributor initially expected. He said Almo had originally bought more non-AmbiLight products from Philips, but the AmbiLight modes were outselling them. When asked why, he explained that in today’s crowded flat panel market, any feature that sets a product apart from the others, especially if it is easily demonstrable at retail, will give consumers reason to select it.
DVD is also still really hot for Almo, particularly advanced models. An Almo rep said they can’t keep enough of Panasonic’s top DVD recorder model, the 200GB HDD-based DMR-EH55, in stock to satisfy demand. Pioneer’s Chris Basehore said sales of its best DVD players aren’t being choked by the buzz around HD DVD and Blu-ray (Pioneer’s own Blu-ray player is scheduled to ship this fall for around $1,700). “People who want the best picture now are still buying our Elite players,” he said.