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Key Idea: Listen to the Marketplace

The second generation of leadership brought in technology and lowered prices.

Key Question:


Just as we read the newspaper and listen to the news on television everyday, we need to listen to the sounds of our business everyday. Some of us get so caught up in the daily duties that we forget to do this.

Q: What did Rick do to respond to the marketplace?

A: He lowered prices. While his father refused to do this, Rick saw that the future includes lower prices for many goods and technology was leading the way. Some say we are now living in a business-on-the-cheap era. Google is a company running on several thousand $2,000 Dell computers while old companies with big brand recognition might be stuck with million-dollar computers running multi-millions of dollars worth of software. When a computer breaks at Google they throw it away so there is not IT repair team there.

The men and women who started companies in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s might be stuck, as was Mr. Presant, with an idea that they deserve a specific markup and they are not flexible. Rick saved the company by listening to the marketplace.

Think about it

What do you hear when you listen to your industry, your customers and your suppliers?

Clip from: All Brand Appliances

Mount Ephraim, New Jersey: In this episode of the show we go to Main Street America (just outside Philadelphia) to look at a classic family business, one that exists in most communities in America but seems to be threatened by new distribution systems and mega-stores like Lowe's and Home Depot. Talk about pressure... Yet, these small businesses may actually thrive in our fast-paced, ever-changing business culture. Best practices is what they do.

If a washing machine breaks, the parts needed to fix it are on the shelf of their store. Owned and run by brothers, Rick and Jeff Presant, the pros, the handyman, and the weekend warriors (honey-do's), are all welcomed to buy appliance parts at All Brand Appliance. With 12 employees and hundreds of ever-faithful customers, these two are building a business on kindness. That's right, kindness.

To prepare to buy All Brand from their father, Rick had his own supply company in another territory and Jeff worked for others.

Go to all the key ideas and videos of this episode...

All Brand Appliance (JP)

Jeff Present, Co-owner

170 North Black Horse Pike
Mt. Ephraim, NJ 08059

Visit our web site:

Office: 800-736-5870

Business Classification:

Year Founded: 1984

Listen to the Marketplace

The first thing, unfortunately, is I had to cut a lot of prices. One of the reasons my father started to get disgusted with this business is the price-cutting. Major competition had moved in, and the price--bottom was dropping out of the prices. He was from the old school, you know? We supply a good service at a fair price, and he was slow to react. He was like, `Well, you know, I can't do that.'

I guess when I came back, I wanted everybody; I wanted the opportunity. Let me just see how low I have to go with the pricing, see where the margins are and see if we can go from there. And I met with a lot of the people individually. They had known me from, you know, my first time at All Brand, and they knew how I felt toward them, and I adjusted the price structure and we got things going.

Our core group of people have been here anywhere from eight to 18 years.

HATTIE: That's fantastic.

RICK: And again--and they have learned. Ruth, the woman on the counter there, she is one of the best parts people in the industry. I have kept customers because of her.

RUTH: George, is it a double-wall oven?

Unidentified Man #3: Then there's a gasket right here; that gasket.

RUTH: That one there?

Man #3: Yeah, that one there.

RICK: There's desire to help, do the extra step, there's energy. It has to be there. And, basically, the same with Denise, who is in the purchasing office.

DENISE: I take the order, I process it, I research it, I see if--you know, what needs to be picked up. I schedule the delivery of it, make...

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