Pleasants was inducted into the BrandSource Hall of Fame’s inaugural Class of 2019.
A tireless advocate for independent dealers and AVB/BrandSource
By Alan Wolf and Andy Kriege, YSN
Beloved BrandSource member and longtime group president Bill Pleasants Sr. died this past weekend following a brief illness. He was 81.
Pleasants was president and CEO of Plaza Appliance Mart, a four-store family business that has served the Charlotte, N.C., market since 1949. But Pleasants is probably best known among BrandSource members and throughout the appliance industry for his tireless dedication as the group’s longtime president. For him, it was a cherished role in which he negotiated vendor programs and visited dealers in distress, crisscrossing the country to share his retail acumen and help turn around their flagging businesses.
In a 2019 interview with YSN, Pleasants joked that he had easily logged more miles than any other member as BrandSource president. But it was all well worth it, he said, as every dealer he counseled was still in business, “which is a point of pride for me.”
Never one to refuse a request, no matter how daunting, Pleasants donned safari gear at the 2001 BrandSource Convention and shared the stage with a live tiger, to underscore the retail jungle that members were then facing.
A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Pleasants served his country in the Air Force and laid down roots in North Carolina. There, he made an impact on the greater Charlotte community as both a respected store owner and a humanitarian who fervently supported the local Ronald McDonald House with fundraisers and donated appliances.
For his lifetime of achievement and commitment to independent retail he was inducted into the BrandSource Hall of Fame in 2019, joining inaugural members Ron Bemis of Bemis Appliance and Famous Tate’s John Horst. As AVB CEO Jim Ristow said on the occasion, “We want to recognize individuals like Bill who have been great stewards of this industry, of their own business, and of BrandSource. He is living the American dream and will leave a very meaningful mark for years to come.”
To his son and Plaza Appliance co-owner, Bill Jr., Pleasants was also a mentor. “He has helped so many people both locally and in their businesses across the country,” he told YSN last year. “I feel blessed beyond measure … [and] I am honored to call him my dad.”
Pleasants eventually passed the operational baton to his son but continued making daily visits to the stores. Looking back on his long career, he offered this advice to today’s generation of BrandSource members: Stay focused on the customer, engage in digital marketing, and utilize all the resources at your disposal through AVB.
“It’s our group,” he said. “We own it. Why buy gas at another station?”
In what would prove his final interview with YSN, commemorating his 80th birthday one year ago, Pleasants refused to hang up his hat and reflected prophetically about a cemetery across the street from one of his storefronts.
“I won’t stop working until I am on the other side of the road,” he said.
Rest in peace, Bill Pleasants. May the road rise up to meet you.
Visitation will be held April 1 from 5:00-7:00 p.m. at McEwen Funeral Home-Pineville Chapel in Charlotte, N.C., and a Celebration of Life Service will be held April 2 at 2:00 p.m. at Central Church (Charlotte campus). Follow YSN for more on the life and times of Bill Pleasants Sr., and his impact on BrandSource and the appliance industry.
BrandSource, a unit of YSN publisher AVB Inc., is a nationwide buying group for independent appliance, furniture, mattress and CE dealers.