NEAG’s on-site team, from left: Oliver Alva, Tyler Cyr, Rob Balzano, Alana Riley, Brittany Lachapelle, Kara Morgan, Maryann Ravech, Brian Moore and Franklin Pichardo.

AVB’s affiliate was well represented at the New England expo

By Andy Kriege, YSN

The New England Appliance Group (NEAG) was front and center at the NECO Alliance’s 2023 Fall Expo.

NECO, an acronym for The Northeast Company, is the umbrella organization for a coalition of northeastern buying co-ops, including AVB affiliates NEAG and Intercounty Appliance Cooperative (IAC).

Turnout for the annual product show, held earlier this autumn at the Mohegan Sun Earth Expo Center in Uncasville, Conn., was outstanding, NEAG said, with over 90% of its members in attendance.

Kara Morgan, NEAG’s director of marketing and member services, said the group’s dealers had an opportunity to see many new products that they were excited to feature in their stores. But the big takeaway for her was when members were asked to take a hard look at their websites. She posed this question to them: “I know you came to the show to refresh your sales floor … but have you refreshed your website?”

She then offered this advice: “Even if you are happy with your website, kick the tires and take a closer look. Don’t view it as just another marketing tool; you need to look at it the same way you do your store — because it is indeed your second store.”

Kate Morris, GM of product at AVB Marketing (AVBM), also attended the NECO Expo and concurred with Morgan’s assertion that having a finely tuned website is crucial to success. 

Product GM Kate Morris was on hand to help NEAG members get the most out of AVBM’S cutting-edge marketing tools.

“Every member’s technology needs are unique,” Morris said. “We were there to help them figure out what works best for them.” She also pointed out that the dialog goes both ways. “It was great to hear members talk about all the different ways they are running their businesses,” she noted. “It helps to incorporate their feedback when we are talking about how we want to update our products to suit each member’s needs.”

In addition to reviewing their websites, members were also urged to consider ways to make their store operations run more smoothly, including the use of various point-of-sale (POS) options.

Jessica Burzycki, owner of Keith’s Appliances in Norwich, Conn., and a NEAG board member, also took in the advice of NECO President Anthony Bruno. “His keynote was very insightful,” she said. “He emphasized that members should focus on profitably. It really made me think differently about how to pick the products that will be featured on my sales floors.”

Burzycki added that her time at the Expo was well spent. “We got educated on everything from new products and services to marketing, logistics and retail support, as well as some special discounts on vendor display programs. We packed a lot in.”

NEAG CFO Brian Bowen was equally pleased with the turnout. “It was a great opportunity for our members to get together and not only catch up socially, but to exchange best practices and bounce ideas off each other,” he said. “This event is a huge part of our members’ success, and those who took part will benefit a great deal.” 

Bowen added that few companies last 60 years, and that NEAG’s longevity “is a testament to the commitment of our hardworking members. It’s a distinct privilege to be part of this group and to play a role in their success.”

YSN publisher AVB BrandSource is the nation’s largest merchandising and marketing co-op for independent appliance, mattress, furniture and CE dealers.

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