Navy Vet Rob Nicholson Saluted with Dealer of the Year Award

Owner Rob Nicholson (pictured) built East Coast Appliance into the largest independent white-goods retailer in Virginia.

South Atlantic Region enlists East Coast Appliance for annual honor

By YSN Staff

BrandSource’s South Atlantic Region didn’t need to cast a wide net to find its Dealer of the Year last year.

Their pick, Norfolk, Va.-based East Coast Appliance, is the largest independent appliance retailer in Virginia, with seven superstores and a staff of over 100. But beyond the retailer’s sales might and superior customer service is an origin story that never fails to inspire.

The burgeoning business was built from humble beginnings, when Navy veteran Rob Nicholson began collecting discarded appliances in a pickup truck and sold the refurbished products from a backyard shed. Fast forward 33 years and East Coast Appliance — the self-proclaimed “Discount King” — is known throughout the Commonwealth for its “Best price or it’s free” promise, as well as its unwavering commitment to customer service.

Store manager Walt Hansbarger, left, displays East Coast’s Dealer of the Year Award with Sales and Marketing VP Frank Dorcsis.

“You have to give people a great product and support it locally,” owner Nicholson observed. “If you treat your customers right, they will come back and refer others as well.”

East Coast’s success strategy also includes membership in BrandSource, whose marketing, merchandising, and operational support helps level the playing field with national big-box chains. “BrandSource’s adoption of technology and digital marketing relieves us of many of those backroom tasks,” Nicholson said. “This allows us more time to do what we do best —engage with customers and provide an exceptional customer experience.”

The BrandSource Dealer of the Year awards are presented annually to members who have shown their continued support of BrandSource and its direct suppliers. Dealers of the Year must demonstrate that support by attending regional meetings as well as national events such as the Convention and BrandSource Summit.

Honorees are selected by the membership within each of the group’s 14 Regions and are saluted for their commitment to excellence in the retail industry and to their fellow BrandSource dealers.

A well-deserved congratulations to Rob, Sales and Marketing VP Frank Dorcsis, and the entire East Coast Appliance team!

BrandSource, a unit of YSN publisher AVB Inc., is a nationwide buying group for independent appliance, mattress, furniture, and CE dealers.