Runco hopes to increase its brand visibility through a new partnership with Best Buy’s Magnolia Design Centers. There are fewer than 20 Magnolia Design Centers, half of which are located in California, but their high-end, demo-centric stores promise to offer more consumer awareness of a brand long synonymous with the custom installation channel.
Magnolia Design Centers are the new home of Runco video products.
It’s a sales environment, noted Adam Schmidt, vice president of channel sales for Runco, not unlike those offered by the best independent Runco CI dealers, but in under-served and highly visible areas of the country.
“These are beautiful showrooms in heavily trafficked markets, including some markets where we’ve been historically underserved,” Schmidt said. “In that sense, it’s actually good for the [independent] dealer, because it helps to establish credibility not just for the brand but for the technology.”
Schmidt called the environment of Magnolia Design Centers “spectacular,” noting their “very well trained staff” and “premium, top-flight brands,” such as McIntosh, B&W, Stewart, MartinLogan, and Audioquest. “They’re the brands we’re used to seeing in the traditional Runco dealer,” Schmidt said. “The employees are trained really really well. The Design Centers look a lot like the very best Runco dealers you’d find around the country, historically. They’re well trained with great products and great staff.”
Magnolia Design Centers will have access to the entire Runco line, but there has been an effort to match the right products the stores’ demo space. Each store will feature a theater with an LS-3 projector and each Magnolia Design Center will feature a Vistage V-63HD plasma TV. There will be a Q650i LED projector in the new Design Centers going forward but in order to get it into the right environment for the existing Design Centers would have been a huge remodeling project. “Going forward you’ll see more of those,” Schmidt said.
The Design Center stores had prior experience selling the high-end offerings from JVC and Epson, and several options in flat panels. But, according to Schmidt, telling the Runco story is a unique opportunity for Magnolia Design Centers.
“We’ve got such a great story to tell, with Sam Runco really being almost the godfather of home theater, and Planar having mission critical, 24/7 bulletproof products for upwards of 30 years,” he said. “Being able to marry the best picture with the quality and reliability that Planar’s been known for, all from an American display company, is a powerful message and Magnolia believes it will be very compelling for the clientele to hear that story.”