Sept. 29, 2020 - Welcome to the Catalyst Distributor Spotlight. Here we would like to shed some light on our awesome distributors who always go the extra mile. This month we talk to Custom Partners out of Plainview, NY.
What is the name of your company and what do you do?
Custom Partners LLC. Richard Radimer – Founder and President.
Where are you located?
How did you get your start in audio video distribution?
My experience in distribution began in the 90s with the founding of Key Distribution in Metro NY (a division of Key Distribution in Maryland which later became AVAD) . I founded Custom Partners in 2003.
How are you different than other CE distributors?
We carry the better gear (like AVPro Edge) , not the run of the mill distribution products. We heavily inventory so dealers do not haver to worry about our stock levels. We have the most knowledgeable staff in the business with a combined 170 years in the business. We solve problems. We have very lenient return and stock adjustment policies.
You seem to have very specific offerings as far the brands you carry, what is that a brand selection process like?
We are VERY discerning when it comes to adding lines to our portfolio. We want to add business, not take away from an existing, supportive vendor. We need the vendor to be appropriately capitalized, as we are. We need them to be innovative and unique. We don’t take on a line just to see if it works.
Where do you see the industry going over the next 3 years?
We see the dealers becoming more of a total solution, rather than AV guys. We see them becoming smarter in their financial well-being, selling better quality solutions to their clients. We see them being better educated, and more future thinking. Custom Partners is uniquely qualified to guide them to these disciplines as we are the “step up” distributor.
How does this industry look 10 years from now from the distributors perspective?
Our ethos doesn’t change. We go to market being the company every dealer loves to do business with. We see the vendors consolidating (Sound United, Nortek, etc.) We see the need for distributors and dealers to be 100% fluent in new technologies. We see the ever growing category of lighting control and fixtures being paramount inside and outside of the house.
What steps have you taken to ensure safe and continued business during the COVID19 pandemic?
Safety is paramount. But it’s also the time to step up and make sure you have what the dealers want in stock and at all times. Our inventory of AVPro Edge is huge. We’ll stock hundreds of baluns and Bullet Train HDMI cables…and dozens of switchers. We cannot be out of these key items in our portfolio.
What are your goals over the next 5 years?
Sensible growth. We see too many vendors expecting 20-30% growth every year. That is not sustainable. We expect margin upticks every year. We do this by buying better as we have the financial resource to do so.
What is a common issue you find in Audio Video Distribution, and how do you overcome it as a distributor?
We see the dealers underselling the client every day. Our sales force is constantly working with the dealer to upsell their clients, or at least expose them to better quality gear. I always say, you’ll only fill up so many holes in the ceiling, always sell the better in ceiling speakers, don’t vote with your wallet. A typical AV distributors #1 in ceiling speaker retails for $299. Our #1 seller retails for $550.
Anything else about your company that you would like to share?
Partnering with an amazing company like AVPro Edge, and working with your team has dramatically enhanced our company. Amazing products, great margins for us and the dealers, great tech and sales support. This is the kind of company we love working with. That’s why Custom Partners won the distributor of the year award from AVPro Edge last CEDIA. We are very proud of that accomplishment.