In a very general sense, there are two kinds of personalities in the CE industry: the frank-talking, shoot-from the hip, passionate independent, and the smart but carefully worded corporate type. Sandy Bloomberg is both of these rolled into one. And maybe that’s because his business, Tweeter Home Entertainment Group, is a little bit of both. Tweeter went from a startup dealer in the boom period of the 1970s to a publicly traded regional retail powerhouse with 153 stores in 23 states across the country. Even though the company has been experiencing some difficult times, it is still a major presence on the CE retail map. And Bloomberg hopes to keep it that way, applying the same passion he had when he founded Tweeter 34 years ago.
It all started on Harvard Square in Cambridge, Mass., a town adjacent to Boston that was a nexus for hi-fi shops at the time. Bloomberg remembers that at one point the square was home to nine audio retailers. “The interesting thing about working on Harvard Square then was its proximity to M.I.T. and guys likes Henry Kloss, Amar Bose and Edgar Vilchur,” he recalls. “They all hung out in Cambridge. It was one of the centers for audio—certainly for speakers. It was this little Mecca of audio in the U.S.”
Bloomberg was just a young man of 18, working for a store called Audio Lab, one of the premiere audio shops at the time. He got the job while attending college, but dropped out of school to work full-time. He says it was there that he fell in love with the business. “People who worked there were passionate about music, they were passionate about audio gear, and it was infectious and a lot of fun,” he says. “Harvard Square in the ’70s was an interesting place to be.”