AVAD to Jump in ProAV Market?

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avad_hdr1-0609AVAD, well known in the HomeAV market as a distributor of high-end consumer electronics gear, is capitalizing on the ProAV market’s loss of Electrograph last week and is rumored to be jumping into the ProAV market.  But, talk to them at your own risk.

Why?  Well, simply providing gear to the ProAV dealer is not the same thing as truly being a distributor.  For example, not only isAVAD not an InfoComm member, but they’re also not an NSCA member either.  So, what are they?  A Bank?  Sure, if you need someone else to buy ProAV gear for you, use them – heck, maybe they’ll give you 90-day terms.  But, Electrograph did more than supply gear – they educated and they had relationships with the dealers so they knew their customers.

stampede_logo-0609No question, managing cash-flow during a terrible debt market was much of what  brought them down, but did you know there are other, existing, ProAV distributors out there now?  Stampede and Visual Solutions Distributing (VSD) are and have been members of InfoComm and NSCA for years.  They’ve been exhibiting at the InfoComm show for years.  They’ve been out there supporting the ProAV market since I can remember.

OK, OK, if Sam Taylor (founder of Electrograph) started a new company tomorrow, I have to admit I’d be on board in a heartbeat since I know him personally (he even serves on the board of the non-profit I started in 2005, the Swim for Smiles Foundation), but I also know Tony and Kevin of VSD and Stampede.  They are ProAV guys who grew up ProAV and know ProAV – not just newcomers who can just provide you banking services.  Customer support and education matter.

visualsolutions-0609This week, I’ve received over 100 emails already from people who are truly bummed thatElectrograph is no more.  Heck, I even got a call from Tony at VSD saying he respected Sam Taylor as much as anyone in the ProAV market – even admitted Electrograph’s marketing team (led by one of rAVe’s contributors, Melody Craigmyle) ran circles around VSD.  But, he also reminded me that he’s a technical guy and he personally answers technical questions himself when his team needs him to make sure his clients are served.  He thinks of VSD as the technical version of Electrograph.

So, you wanna give AVAD a shot?  Go right ahead.  But, I think they need to at least join InfoComm and NSCA first – that way they can at least claim they have something to do with the ProAV market.