You think you have it tough? Try selling consumer electronics and appliances in 'Ground Zero' of the nation's housing bubble.
Bill Smith Appliance and Electronics was founded more than 50 years ago in Fort Myers, Fla., as an appliance dealer serving builders during the region's nascent housing boom. Now the privately held CE and appliances retailer has eight showroom locations and a customer base that ranges from blue-collar families to Fortune 500 CEOs. It's surviving the nation's worst housing bust while preparing for the rebound.
While Bill Smith sales revenue and profits are down from the peak of the real-estate bubble, the company has remained profitable, something executive vice president Chris Riching attributes to extensive cost reductions and an intense focus on higher-margin CE and appliance categories.