Pittsburgh chain extends retail reach into West Virginia
By Andy Kriege, YSN
BrandSource member Don’s Appliances, which has been serving the greater Pittsburgh area since 1971, has extended its retail footprint into neighboring West Virginia.
The appliance chain officially opened its 11th store in Morgantown, W.Va., on April 5. The company marked the occasion with a ribbon-cutting ceremony led by founder Don Hillebrand, who started the business more than half a century ago.
The newly built, 10,000-square-foot showroom offers a large selection of appliances from top brands like Beko, Bosch, GE, LG and Signature Kitchen Suite (SKS), among others. In addition, the Morgantown store features a scratch-and-dent section and provides curbside pickup for select appliances.
YSN recently spoke with second-generation co-owner Tim Hillebrand about the new location and his company’s expansion strategy.
What factors did you consider before building out your business yet again?
Tim Hillebrand: We asked ourselves, can we be profitable and offer the outstanding customer experience we are known for without putting too much stress on our operations team? We feel the answer is yes.
What are the challenges of operating so many locations across a relatively large geographic expanse?
Not having as much oversight on a daily basis is the biggest challenge. Also, running multiple marketing campaigns and having multiple DCs [distribution centers].
What made this location attractive to the chain?
We already deliver to this area, primarily for the remodel side of the business. Having a footprint for the replacement side made sense for us.
Why has Don’s been so successful in the markets you serve?
We have first class showrooms full of great brands, coupled with great service and, without question, the best customer experience in the region.
What are your plans for future expansion?
We are always looking for “what’s next.” We feel we have great management and operations teams in place. This is what allows us to continue to expand.
What role has your affiliation with BrandSource played in your continued growth and success?
Our membership in the group has really helped us embrace growth. Just having the opportunity to discuss best practices with the smartest people in the business is priceless. The continued expansion of services at AVB Marketing has allowed our website to have the look and feel of a big-box store. It has always been our goal to act like a national retailer, and BrandSource has allowed us to do so.
Any advice for fellow BrandSource dealers who are thinking about expanding?
If you can expand without duplicating your marketing and advertising efforts, the economies of scale will help make it profitable. Keep in mind, you can’t be everywhere, so it is critical to have key employees that you have empowered to make day-to-day decisions.
YSN wishes Don’s Appliances the best as they build upon 50-plus years of remarkable success.
BrandSource, a unit of YSN publisher AVB Inc., is a nationwide buying group for independent appliance, mattress, furniture and CE dealers.