Newly inducted Hall of Famer Mark Pardini accepts his award at last month’s BrandSource Convention.

Longtime member Mark Pardini inducted into BrandSource Hall of Fame

By Andy Kriege, YSN

Mark Pardini, principal of Pardini Appliance & Mattress, was one of two retail titans inducted into the illustrious BrandSource Hall of Fame at the group’s annual Convention in Dallas last month.

The Hall of Fame accolade recognizes individuals for their lifetime of achievement in retail and for the group. The 2022 class — the third generation of Hall of Famers following the class of 2021 and the inaugural 2019 contingent — is comprised of Pardini and Mark Reckling, CEO of Grand Appliance.

Pardini honed his selling skills as a toddler. Here he is in the 1950s doing his first refrigeration demonstration.

Pardini began his retail journey while still in college by acquiring a stake in the family business, and would go on to buy out his co-owner dad some 19 years later. During his nearly half century at the Ukiah, Calif.-based business, he not only served his community but also became a steadfast servant leader of BrandSource.

Over the course of his 47-year retail odyssey, Pardini has seen it all. “We’ve seen many competitors come and go, including Circuit City, Wards, Sears and many others,” he said. “We’ve also gone through multiple recessions, not to mention the fires and earthquakes, and yet we are still standing. Having endured all of that has made us all even stronger.”

Pardini reflected on the early days of AVB and how far the group has come. Initially, his Pacific Rim Region mates would meet every other week to discuss what to buy and where they needed more sales volume to hit rebate thresholds for the group. “I would drive down to the [San Francisco] Bay Area for dinner meetings twice a month where we would hash all this out in person,” he said. “We forged a bond that has held us together to this day. Many of us are still around and still consider each other family.”

Pardini attributes his long track record of success to not dwelling on the aggravating things that pop up throughout the day. “You must deal with issues and then move on,” he said. “If you let it eat at you, you won’t make it in this business.

Pardini showing off the latest and greatest in microwaves (and permanent press slacks) at the county fair in the 1970s.

“It also helps to have a sense of humor,” he added. “We are not selling heart and lung machines here; a sense of humor goes a long way toward keeping your head on straight.”

Pardini has been a steadfast servant of BrandSource, having sat on the national board for 20 years, where he represented the Pac Rim Region since the early 1990s. He also served as BrandSource’s president for three years, and was the last elected national president before that role become a paid position.

A driving force within his region for three decades, Pardini played a key role in aligning the industry’s largest manufacturers with BrandSource’s merchandising initiatives, giving members across the country a competitive edge. “We had regional programs at that time but not national ones,” he said. “Working to develop programs where all members benefitted is what I am most proud of.”

Following the Hall of Fame induction ceremony, Pardini said that receiving the honor had given him pause to reflect on all the past years. “I’m not sure I belong in the same category as the others, like Bill Pleasants,” he said. “To be up on the wall with him is a huge honor.” Pardini also expressed regret that Pleasants, along with his father, Larry Pardini, were not there to see him get inducted. “It would have been great to have them here with me,” he said.

Related: Pleasants, Horst and Bemis Enter BrandSource Hall of Fame

Pardini recruited two lonely repairmen to help him with a Ronald McDonald House fundraiser at the store in the 1990s.

Many people have since messaged Pardini to say “congratulations” and “well deserved,” although he is especially grateful for the latter, as it conveys how much his efforts have meant to so many people.

The BrandSource veteran also emphasized the importance of being in a buying group, where your fellow dealers are willing to share their successes as well as their failures. “There are no secrets in this industry,” he said. “Find a mentor who is willing to share his time and expertise as I did.”

Pardini not only found mentors within the group, but he has returned the favor by helping scores of members survive in the topsy turvy business of independent retail. For that we tip our collective caps to Hall of Famer Mark Pardini.

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