Ristow to Industry: BrandSource Share Gains Are for Keeps

Jim Ristow, CEO of AVB, rallies the members during his Summit opener.

AVB’s CEO urges members to maintain the momentum in Summit kickoff address

By Alan Wolf, YSN

AVB CEO Jim Ristow formally kicked off BrandSource’s Summit 2022 gathering in Las Vegas this morning with an inspirational address that would do Knute Rockne proud.

Recounting the major gains the group has made during the pandemic, and the challenges members overcame to achieve it, Ristow implored dealers to adopt the can-do mindset of this year’s “Own It!” theme in order to continue the winning streak.

“Everyone is tired,” Ristow acknowledged. And even the huge chunks of market share that members wrested from the competition “did not feel as good as it should,” he said, due to industrywide supply chain and labor issues and disgruntled customers. Moreover, retailers are facing added headwinds this year in the form of rising costs and fallout from the European conflict, which may only add to their concerns.

But citing sports stars Michael Jordan, who said “Limits, like fears, are often an illusion,” and seven-time Super Bowl champ Tom Brady, who said his favorite championship ring is “The next one,” Ristow advised attendees to let go of their negative thoughts and “imaginary scenarios,” which seldom come to pass, and to take control of their destinies.

Ristow used the example of his newest family member, Luna, an 11-pound Chihuahua-mix shelter dog who behaves more like a Doberman. Similarly, BrandSource members should continue to “act small” while serving their local communities, and “leverage big” by accessing the AVB marketing, merchandising and operational tools that can put them on par with national chains.

Indeed, AVB’s battle-tested services are also leveraged by BrandSource affiliates and Summit participants ProSource, the nation’s largest A/V and integration buying group; Mega Group/BrandSource Canada, our independent neighbors to the North; and Northeast buying co-ops N.E.A.G. (the New England Appliance Group) and Intercounty Appliance Corp.

Like BrandSource, each have realized significant increases in sales volume and/or membership while also tapping into such AVB offerings as Expert Warehouse (CE distribution); BrandSource Financial (consumer and wholesale financing); AVB Marketing (industry-leading e-commerce sites and digital marketing resources); and YourSourceNews (marketplace information).

And further refinements are on the way. “In 2022, all the groups are bringing even more technology and marketing to drive business,” Ristow said, along with the information, education, and business solutions that AVB, its affiliates, and BrandSource dealers need to “own it.”

“You have proven you can adapt and be resilient like none of your competition,” he told members. “I believe you can maintain and grow share. Remember, we are here to help you simplify and unify [your business operations], and the Summit is a great place to grab the bull by the horns and decide how you are going to control your own destiny.”

“The business is yours to take,” Ristow added. “So own it!”