Bob and Ron’s World Wide Stereo: Riding a Winning Horse
Cole’s team these days is made up of over 60 employees, many of whom have worked for World Wide Stereo for a majority of their careers. Cole, a former psychologist, has made a point of surrounding himself with good people, especially since 2000, when he was pulled away from day-to-day operations by a serious illness. He describes Bill Buch, his chief buyer, as a pitbull and his controller, Kristen Smith, as “a life-long friend, nearly a daughter.” Dave Barrickman, World Wide Stereo’s VP of sales, said the company’s high value on training and keeping employees is not only a cost-saver, it’s a marketing tool too.
“We lead with our labor,” Barrickman said. “We offer expertise...We’ll tell [a female customer], ‘Our guys show up with a vacuum cleaner, a drop cloth and booties.’ That’s what gets her attention. She becomes a partner when she hears that.”
World Wide Stereo stores are near Main Line communities like Gladwyne, where the median household income is $190,000 and it’s typical for mansion-owners to build million-dollar additions to their estates. “I had one lady who had a house staff of four people,” Barrickman said. “She wanted us to rig up cameras so she could check in on [them] from her Buenos Aires home,” he said.