"I'm very happy about it," said Bertrand Bergeron in a call to Marketnews about yesterday's announcement La Clef de Sol and Cybertronic will affiliate with Power Audio Video Buying Group. "I thought about it a long time," Bergeron added. "I wanted to be in a big group across Canada, and I am very comfortable being with Power Audio Video Group."
James Murphy, the President of the Power Audio Video Buying Group and Bergeron jointly released the news yesterday. By working with the 250 La Clef de Sol and Cybertronic storefronts, it brings Power Audio Video Buying Group's buying power to over 300 independent retail CE storefronts operating across Canada.
"This is an important relationship for both parties," stated Murphy at the time, "and a positive step forward for both our current members and our valued suppliers. I have had a long term relationship with Bertrand Bergeron and together we believe that there will be positive long term benefits in working together."
Bob Lapointe, the President and CEO of Tailbase Inc., which designs Websites for La Clef de Sol and many of its franchisees as well as major Power Group members like Andre's Electronic Experts and McKays Electronic Experts, concurs with Murphy. "Bertrand Bergeron is one of the most respected, and well-liked, people in Canadian consumer electronics retailing.
"He is very honest, and a deep thinker," Lapointe added. "He is continually reevaluating his business and changing it, but very thoughtfully and cautiously. We are redoing La Clef de Sol's Website, which isn't even three years old. As a result of his efforts, La Clef de Sol is not only a recognized brand name in Quebec but an institution."
While Bergeron's own store and his franchise banners have affiliated with Power Audio Video Buying Group, there is no change in their relationships with Cantrex Nationwide, with which the lion's share are affiliated. "It's business as usual for us," affirmed Mike Bittman, Cantrex Nationwide's VP Consumer Electronics & Photography. "We will service Bertrand as his banners as usual."
Bittman added that while Power Group will take the lead in negotiating vendor and supplier deals, his company would continue to offer financing and member services from health plans to marketing and commercial production. "We're inviting Bertrand and some of his dealers, and the Power Group people to Primetime in Washington, DC, in August." Primetime is a marketing fair and exposition hosted by Cantrex Nationwide's parent company Nationwide Marketing Group, which showcases the company's advertising and commercial making arm which operates in Atlanta, Georgia.
Power Group's VP Robert Gumiela noted that his buying group "has a very strong flyer and print advertising program managed by Michel Paul, and a significant market intelligence program that all Power Group members take advantage of."
"We will," said Bergeron, "sit down with Jim and Robert and Claude Viau, and discuss our specific need and strategy step by step." Viau, of course, is the founder and CEO of SonX Plus, an initial member of Power Audio Video Group. While Murphy expressed his gratitude to Viau for helping integrate Bergeron's organization, which is after all a competitor, into the buying group, the latter commented that "Claude Viau is a good guy with good experience in the business. We have had no occasion in the past to work together, but all of us who have been in the business so many years want to work closely together."
Working closely with Cantrex Nationwide was another aim which Bergeron expressed to Marketnews. "Nationwide is new to Canada," he reflected, "but they do a very good job in the United States. We will sit down with them and see if they have some programs that can help us."
La Clef de Sol-Cybertronic, SonX Plus, and Power Group," he reiterated, "will all work together to offer new services to our dealers within the next few weeks. We will see new product categories too." Automation, LED lighting, and digital signs were three mentioned by Bergeron.
"These retailers are pillars in their local markets," Murphy summed up. "Our primary objective when we formed the Power Audio Video Group," he added, "was to meet the on-going needs of the independent and regional dealer channel and provide tools so they have an opportunity to prosper."