Magnolia Hi-Fi and Strong
Interestingly, in Magnolia's latest incarnation, Jim Tweten revisited the distant past—digitally. He reintroduced cameras into Magnolia's pantheon of merchandise in an effort to answer consumer demand with product supply. He said change, whether it be in merchandising or showroom style, can be attributed to one unavoidable factor for any retailer, no matter how small or how powerful: flux. He subscribes to the theory that the market is fluid, that it gives and takes.
It's especially noticeable for Magnolia, a business that began before the hi-fi boom, and long before digital began dominating. For Tweten, these fluctuations meant he's had to pull back products at times for a tighter retail focus (goodbye, film). Other times, the market demanded a more liberal spread, which is why he recently welcomed peripherals into the mix, like printers, papers and inks. In total, Magnolia Hi-Fi stocks over $10 million-worth of top brand-name consumer electronics, including Sony, Panasonic, Pioneer, Samsung and Toshiba, plus enthusiast brands like Denon and B&K.
Today, Tweten defines the niche as a combination of both missions for stores averaging 10,000 to 15,000 square feet in Washington, Oregon and California. He said, "The prototype has been developed and works well." He has no intention of changing it. He did admit, "We've gone from selling a broad selection of products to the upper end." By narrowing the company's focus, Magnolia is able to supply a rich concoction to a much more focused customer base. It's a far cry from 1954.