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Custom Distributor Guide 2008

Time is money, especially in the CEDIA business, where countless hours are lost debugging a chic but temperamental touchpanel in the field, or perfecting an original design. Service calls and on-site upgrades are mixed blessings; they are invoice potential as well as time traps. In general, it seems that calculating labor costs is more of an art than a science.

Special Delivery

Distributors Offer the Competitive Pricing, Services, and Education to Help Dealers Maximize Sales Potential


Time is money, especially in the CEDIA business, where countless hours are lost debugging a chic but temperamental touchpanel in the field, or perfecting an original design. Service calls and on-site upgrades are mixed blessings; they are invoice potential as well as time traps. In general, it seems that calculating labor costs is more of an art than a science.

While all of this is par for the course, every hour and every invoice matters, especially in challenging economic times. Many dealers continue to buy direct from certain staple lines, but more often it makes sense to tap value-added distributors for low-margin products and other inventory that might require time and investment—resources that could be better utilized elsewhere in the company’s flow chart.

ADI, AVAD, Capitol Sales, Contractors Wire & Cable, david, DSI, Electrograph, and Fesco Distributing are value-added distributors with a mission to help dealers save time and make money. Through expedited delivery, access to newest and the best brands, and product training, distributors help dealers succeed in their current markets, and enter new ones. Distributors can also help smaller custom operations manage margin erosion on items like flat-panel displays by warehousing the products for them.

Fesco’s New York facility

david (digital audio video integration distributors) is a company created by custom installers for custom installers, says group president David Silkin, so they know what matters the most to systems professionals. “We are qualified, certified, and available to assist our dealers in every aspect of their jobs from quote to completion,” Silkin explained. david’s training centers, warehouses, and showrooms are open six days a week, because, as Silken emphasizes, “we work when our dealers work.”

There is no “one size fits all policy” in the CEDIA industry, so it’s helpful to link up with the distributor who can best meet your specific company needs. Will-call pickups are advantageous for any product, from display mounting accessories to tower speakers. Additionally, distributors like david and AVAD offer numerous payment options through personal accounts, C.O.D., or credit cards.

A Valuable Resource

(Left to Right) Magic Home’s Alex Stohlmann, Doug Gravelle, and Bob Christensen Product training is another key benefit of the distribution model, and dealer expos and events such as those held annually at Fesco, Capitol Sales, ADI, and Electrograph, let dealers demo the newest residential technologies and meet the engineers driving product development. Most distribution facilities incorporate classrooms for hands-on testing where dealers can learn everything from troubleshooting to upgrading.

Curt Hayes, president and CFO, Capitol Sales Company emphasizes the value of support and training in order to grow business. “We provide the highest level of technical support and service in the industry by hiring sales representatives who have inside working knowledge of both residential and commercial installations. Our sales team has an average of 22 years of experience and their background includes in-field installation or retail.”

Distributors like Capitol who service professionals “in the field” try to understand products inside and out, and train their dealer-partners to help reduce guesswork during a live install.

There’s another reason distributors stay connected to new product developments. New technology can equal new sales opportunities, therefore dealers must stay dialed into the Next Big Thing. “Every job dealers sell should have a Vudu in it,” said Silkin. It’s not the dark art its name suggests; Vudu is the new movie on-demand service that provides instant access to thousands of films and TV shows, with hundreds of titles in high-definition. It’s a viable alternative to Blu-ray which is still growing in popularity and equipped with a menu and navigation that some dealers think leaves much to be desired. “We choose Vudu because it fit perfectly in to what we do at david,” Silkin enthused, “we offer cutting edge products that can be easily integrated with our core products. Vudu is perfect for a single room solution and for whole house integration.” Additionally, Vudu has been aggressive about adding HD content, a category every dealer should be watching (literally and figuratively).

Electrograph offers nationwide coverage.

Wide product availability is another benefit of the distribution chain; by offering solutions for every installation challenge, the dealer doesn’t need to worry about warehousing high-volume or specialty inventory, freeing up essential cash flow.

When it comes to better cash flow management, Contractors Wire & Cable believes it offers a compelling value proposition. As a manufacturer direct, Contractors Wire & Cable’s Frances Yim said, “We not only distribute but we also manufacture the product, eliminating the middleman.”

Survival Tips
It’s crucial in today’s environment that a distributor adds value to the independent retailer, believes Doug Robison, president of DSI Systems. “When competing with big box stores, the independent needs to know what models to stay away from and what to push,” he explained. The independent is not only a survivor, but he knows how to thrive in tough, competitive markets.

“As a distributor it is our role to be his business partner,” he continued. “That means helping with advertising plans, service issues, how to set the floor, and having the best terms and freight programs in the business.”

A training session at AVAD’s North Carolina facility.

To that end, DSI’s business model and competitive programs allow the dealer to buy multiple brands in one shipment and keep capital in the showroom and not tied up in inventory. “Our job is not finished when we sell product in to a retailer, it is only finished when the product is sold through to the consumer,” Robinson added.

To weather the current economic crunch, Electrograph is working closer than ever with vendors. By collaborating closely with the best brands in the business, Electrograph can offer “more competitive pricing to our reseller partners,” said Sam Taylor, president of Electrograph Systems Inc. “At the same time, we’re providing a wider variety of high-margin peripheral products so resellers can make more money even with fewer jobs.”

Margot Douaihy is a contributing editor of Residential Systems magazine in New York City.

Electrograph Systems Inc.

Electrograph is committed to helping resellers grow their businesses with programs like the Display Technology Experience (DTE) education and training event.

Sam Taylor, Electrograph President

Founded in 1982, Electrograph Systems, Inc. is a leading national distributor of display technology solutions, including plasma displays, LCD displays, LCD, and DLP™ projectors, and other specialty displays. In 2006, the company acquired ActiveLight, CineLight and International Computer Graphics, all leading national distributors of A/V products.

The company specializes in display, audio, connectivity, and other complementary technologies for both the consumer and commercial markets. With 10 regional offices, six distribution centers and a network of more than 5,000 reseller partners and integrators, Electrograph is one of the largest plasma display distributors in the U.S. and has the buying power to pass along unequalled savings to its partners. The company offers complete solutions with exclusive product lines and an extensive line of margin-building peripherals, including an Extended Warranty Program.

According to Sam Taylor, president of Electrograph Systems, Inc., “The reality is that almost half of our reseller partners are selling into both the residential and the commercial markets. And Electrograph is committed to helping resellers grow their businesses with the best products, training, and services for these industries.”

Electrograph offers extensive display technology inventory.

Electrograph is the only distributor to operate a CTS-certified InfoComm-trained nationwide sales management force. Earlier this year, Electrograph announced the addition of Solutions Managers to each territory—the first distributor to offer this specialty— to help resellers specify and sell peripheral products into AV installations for maximum profit potential.

Educating resellers is a primary focus for Electrograph. Its Display Technology Experience (DTE) reseller education and training program continues to gain momentum, allowing resellers to now earn CEDIA continuing education credits. The DTE program, which has already stopped in Anaheim and Chicago in 2008, continues to make its way around the country.

Electrograph also offers ongoing “TechTip” webinars and podcasts, which can be found in the education section of the Electrograph website ( “We are continually expanding our residential offering so that we can give our customers streamlined access to the newest and most complete range of electronics systems products for the home,” said Taylor.

New residential product lines include Atlantic Technology flat panel speakers, Home Automation, Inc. (HAI) smart home control solutions, the byd:sign WiFi remote, and Cables To Go’s Rapid modular cabling systems.

Contractors Wire & Cable

Contractors Wire & Cable is headquartered in a prime location in the San Francisco Bay area. Currently, all locations are maintained with real time computer support for pricing, availability, and expediting. Contractors Wire & Cable is one of the largest independent wholesale distributors of low voltage cabling, structured wiring, data conductivity, and security products in the United States.

The friendly team at Contractors Wire & Cable, including president Derek McMullen

Contractors Wire & Cable was established in 1989 and is now servicing customers worldwide with over $30 million in sales. As a part of Contractors Wire & Cable’s extensive plan to continue as one of the fastest growing distributors, we have positioned ourselves in Phoenix, Anaheim, Dallas, Atlanta, and Livermore CA, with plans for future growth and expansion.

All of the employees have vast knowledge and experience with cable and all other products offered through Contractors’ Wire & Cable. Our sales staff is here to assist you in special applications and job cost reductions.

Why do our customers do business with us?
• Service
• Quality of the products
• Product availability
• Product Variety
• Product applications knowledge
• Competitive prices
• Same day shipping
• Local deliveries from our distribution centers
• On time shipments
• Real time inventory barcode system
• eCommerce & EDI

Why should you choose Contractors Wire & Cable as your sole Low Voltage Supplier?
If the above is not enough, our current customers rely on us to support them in their projects such as: Apple Computer, 3COM, Yahoo, Hewlett Packard, Packard Bell, NEC, Sony Entertainment Center S.F, Cisco Systems, Sun Micro Systems, and many more.

DSI Systems

Doug Robison, President of DSI Systems

DSI Systems is the nation’s largest distributor of televisions, satellite equipment, and appliances. Dedicated to serving independent dealers, DSI has 24 years of experience providing efficient customer service with strong product lines, fast shipping, and dealer programs to assist retailers with their promotional and floor plans. With 30 locations nationwide, DSI partners with retailers to help increase their profits.

Multiple Brands, One Shipment
DSI offers over $50 million in inventory of television and satellite products, complemented by an extensive array of installation and consumer accessories. Choose from lines including Toshiba, Pioneer, Sharp, Mitsubishi, Hitachi, LG, DIRECTV, Monster Cable, Sirius Satellite Radio, WildBlue Satellite Internet, Onkyo, Pinnacle, Yamaha, Vantage Point, Techcraft, and Fisher & Paykel. This wide selection of brands and products creates a unique one-stop shopping opportunity for retailers.

Additionally, purchase any mix of products totaling over $3,500 receive free shipping with only a $19.99 handling fee—and orders of $5,000 ship free, allowing retailers to replenish many products and lines in a single order. This “mix and match” freight plan is specifically designed to save retailers time and money, enabling them to combine product lines to purchase at a higher volume rate, and therefore, a lower price category.

30 Locations Nationwide

One of DSI Systems’ Regional Distribution Centers and Sales offices in Dallas, Texas.

DSI’s strategically located warehouses from coast to coast also help reduce freight costs, giving dealers a competitive advantage. All orders received by 2 p.m. are shipped the same day, and most orders are delivered in one to two days at ground rates, allowing dealers to keep stock to a minimum. Retailers can benefit from additional savings when paying with cash and when picking up their order at a branch.

A Strategic Partnership
When dealers partner with DSI, they gain more than just a vendor. DSI continuously assists dealers with dedicated and knowledgeable account managers, year-round training, and educational opportunities on a variety of product lines. Exceptional product promotions are offered in conjunction with many of these programs, allowing dealers to make even larger margins, often on products that are in high consumer demand. Vendor representatives, DSI trainers, and DSI senior management also share extensive product knowledge that helps give retailers an advantage over big box stores. DSI believes that the educated dealer has the power to out-sell the competition. By providing products from worldclass manufacturers, sharing information on the latest technology, or working closely to move product, DSI offers a wealth of services to the consumer electronics and appliance retailer. To begin a working relationship with DSI’s dedicated team, retailers are invited to call today and ask for a DSI catalog.


ADI President Tom Polson

As a leading global wholesale distributor of low voltage products, ADI provides all the tools and training necessary to sell high quality, integrated A/V solutions in the custom electronics install market. Choose from an array of training seminars to help expand your offerings and create new opportunities, including CEDIA Home Theater Audio Boot Camp, Level 1 Review and Exam, Custom Home Theater, IP Networking 101, and Networking 201. ADI’s new A/V Demo Rooms are equipped with the latest technology to allow dealers to become familiar with products before offering them to customers.

ADI’s superior product offering, convenient locations, value-added services, and friendly and knowledgeable staff can be relied on to help you win business throughout the marketplace. They remain committed to providing the programs and support you need, while cultivating a strong relationship you can trust.

ADI’s solutions include:

One of ADI’s new A/V Demo Rooms in Orange, California.

• Intrusion
• Fire
• IP Networking
• Access
• Audio/Video
• Tools and hardware
• Home solutions
• Wire and cable


With 37 locations nationwide and two in Canada, expert in-depth training, unique dealer programs and the industry’s most respected roster of brands, AVAD is the only supplier that is truly focused on the needs of the custom installer. As the company’s slogan “We Live This Stuff” implies, AVAD gives installers more than the other guy—more selection, more technologies, more whole-house solutions and more key industry relationships— things installers need to grow their business.

“We Understand What You Do”
Founded in 1998, AVAD recognized the need for an organization that allowed manufacturers’ fast, easy and efficient access to the inherently large, but fragmented body of custom installation specialists scattered across the United States.

AVAD Rocky Mountain, Salt Lake City

Bob Gartland, AVAD President

AVAD’s vision was different, unique and unlike anything that had been done before. The company was established with a comprehensive approach to distribution—one that linked custom installers with a wide array of products and manufacturers—and the training, technical and application support needed, with showroom availability and classroom facilities at each of its locations.

Within a short amount of time, the AVAD idea caught on. AVAD has continually grown, expanding its number of facilities and talented staff, service programs and roster of premium brands. In July 2005, AVAD was acquired by Ingram Micro, Inc., making its parent company the leading distributor for solution providers and custom integrators serving the fast-growing consumer electronics and home automation markets in the United States. Today, AVAD offers next-day delivery to a nationwide corps of over 9,000 dealers from 37 locations.

AVAD’s powerful combination of people and ideas has made it the perfect link for the most trusted brands in every product category, including home theater, home automation, distributed audio/video, lighting controls, HVAC, central vacuum, and more. The brands AVAD distributes and supports include Bose, RTI, Fujitsu, Samsung, Sharp, Toshiba, Marantz, Niles Audio, Polk Audio, Philips, Lutron, and Panasonic, among many others.

A training session at AVAD’s Charlotte location.

Through AVAD University’s continuing education programs, manufacturers are made directly available to dealers through product training seminars hosted on-site at AVAD locations nationwide, as well as online via phone and web for complete scheduling flexibility. Moreover, AVAD was the first to bridge the gap between builders and installers with the introduction of its Dealer to Builder (D2B) program in 2003, which was recently expanded. Additionally, AVAD introduced an initiative called “Integration Partners” to improve interoperability among its roster of home technology manufacturers.

AVAD also provides their dealer-base a custom-published magazine, Gear Head, has recently relocated its corporate headquarters, and has implemented a new return policy: 30-day Initial Failure Exchange and 90-day “Good as New” Full Credit Return Privileges.

Capitol Sales Company

Capitol Sales is dedicated to helping every customer’s business grow, says company president Curt Hayes.

Capitol Sales Company, Inc. partners with customers as an emerging technology national distributor and provides product solutions from more than 125 leading manufacturers for home theatre, telephone, integrated home systems, and commercial A/V.

Our People Make the Difference
Customers confidently buy from Capitol Sales because it takes the time to understand them, their level of expertise, and their current job. Capitol’s knowledgeable sales staff has sold and installed integrated systems so they know the potential problems in the field.

Education is very important in this amazingly fast paced industry and Capitol Sales believes in application based, hands-on education and offer classes at its facility, CEDIA EXPO, EHX, and an annual Dealer Education and Technology Showcase.

Unparalleled Service

Capitol Sales offers training seminars at its facility, trade shows, online, and its annual Dealer Education & Technology Showcase.

Capitol Sales has a strong commitment to offering the latest in technology for a range of applications. With more than 5,000 products in stock in one location, products are available to ship when dealers need them. “We’re constantly improving our product mix with nationally known product brands and accessories,” Curt Hayes, president and CFO of Capitol Sales Company, said. Visit to search by manufacturer, category, key word, model number, or Capitol Sales SKU number. Be sure to access the Knowledge Base for Capitol’s sales staff’s favorite diagrams and charts, and manufacturer system configurators.

Products are picked and packed within minutes of an order being placed, with more than 98.5 percent of all orders shipped the same day. Orders can be placed and shipped through 6 p.m. Central Time. There is no order minimum and a variety of payment options are available, including credit card. Order online and receive free freight for UPS orders shipped to your primary place of business.

Choose Capitol Sales for your home theater, telephone, integrated home systems, and commercial A/V needs.


David Silkin, Group President

Known as the fast growing wholesale distributor of audio, video, structured wire products, control systems, CCTV, and everything a custom installer needs, d a v i d (digital audio video integrated distributors) has the right combination of products, knowledge, and experience to help grow your custom install business. And since david is the Metro East partner of TAG (The Advantage Group), david has the buying power to get you what you need, when you need it at the price you need it to be.

david has two incredible locations both with fully equipped showrooms, training centers, customer friendly warehouses (yes, they encourage their customers to walk through their warehouses) nicely displayed will-call centers and friendly, knowledgeable staff.

The flat panels are stacked high at david’s NY Warehouse.

The management team at david has more than 100 years of combined experience in custom and commercial sound and video. David Silkin, group president, says, “We are qualified, certified, and available to assist our dealers in every aspect of their jobs, from quote to completion.”

Both david locations are open from 8am-6pm Monday-Friday and Saturdays from 9am-1pm. After hours, david staff are available by cell phone. Please visit for the further contact info.

Fesco Distributors Inc.

Benjy Goldstein, CEO, Fesco

Fesco Distributors Inc., founded in 1962 as a retail store, has grown into a leading Northeast distributor of brand-name consumer electronics and home technology solutions. From the largest inventory of LCD and plasma displays in the Northeast, to LCD and DLP projectors and an extensive line of mounts, Fesco offers a wide array of home theater products to its audiovisual and custom install dealers in the United States.

Fesco’s Brooklyn, New York headquarters

Fesco offers one of the largest inventories of LCD and plasma displays in the Northeast.

Fesco is committed to being a partner in its dealers’ success. It honors that commitment by always having in stock a variety of cutting-edge products at competitive pricing. By constantly adding new products, Fesco helps installers stay current with the best technology for a range of applications. More than 95 percent of orders are filled within 24 hours. Its efficient and knowledgeable sales staff, both in-house and on the road, are responsible for maintaining a high level of customer satisfaction. Most accounts are visited weekly by its sales reps, thereby achieving a personal relationship with their customers. This allows Fesco to keep its finger on the pulse of the industry, ever attentive to its customer���s needs.

Fesco distributes from name brand companies such as Sony, Panasonic, Samsung, JVC, Yamaha, and Sanus, among others, and is always improving its product mix with nationally known brands and accessories. Fesco participates in three shows throughout the year and is a member of CEDIA and CES. It also holds its own dealer show, which according to CEO Benjy Goldstein, “Allows us the opportunity to stay in touch with our customers’ ever evolving needs”.

See why Fesco’s customers continue recognizing them for their unparalleled customer service. Call 1.888.88.Fesco and become a Fesco dealer today.