Brunswick, Ga.

These are the times when a Marilyn Monroe impersonator sauntering in front of a hot car can really do some good

Tension crackled through the ranks around this time last year when H&H Lifestyles owner Trey Brunson asked all of his employees to gather for a store-wide summit.

Tom Huff, the manager in charge of 20 full-time salespeople at Schaefer’s TV & Appliance Center, Lincoln, Neb., remembers the dark days of consumer electronics. It’s not that the store’s business ever suffered. As a 62-year-old independent business that started out as a corner drugstore, Schaefer’s has a great track record at evolving along with its marketplace. But there was a time when the trend was to keep things dark ... literally. “In the 80s and 90s, it was big to keep things dark in electronics departments,” he said. “Everyone thought that was the way to sell TVs. But on a

Trey Brunson doesn’t get one foot in the door at Nick’s noon soul food buffet before the hand shaking begins. Captain Fenwig, who runs the local ship harbor, says hello. Ben, the bank president; Larry and Jay, the real estate guys; and Mike, the little league coach, all greet him and ask after his parents. By the time Brunson has sat down and had two deep fried pork chops, he has talked to more than 10 people he’s known nearly all his life and has even heard opinions about his new showroom, H&H Lifestyles, which just opened in a nearby shopping center. “There are

Anthony Toler is a type-A operations manager, a stressed-out details man whose desk stacks prove that indeed, we have not yet become a paperless society. But Toler’s dedicated attention to the paperwork is helping a former appliance/furniture retailer in Brunswick, GA turn itself into a custom electronics dealer serving both high and middle-market customers. “We have 20 huge [custom] jobs going right now, and 30 to 40 more smaller retail [home theater installations] a month” says Toler, who’s worked at H&H Lifestyles, an independent but substantial mom & pop operation with a brand new showroom, for the last 12 years. As many CE

When Gail Dallas took a job at a Georgia furniture and appliance store sixteen and a half years ago, her job description was straightforward: receptionist. “I answered phones,” says 56-year-old Dallas. “I can talk to anybody, I just think people on any level are so I was a good fit.” Dallas is still the first voice customers hear when they call or walk in the door of H&H, but the store and Dallas’s role in it have evolved into something much more complex. “I’m the concierge,” says Dallas of her island desk at the entrance to the brand new H&H Lifestyles store

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