IS THIEL Crazy Opening Crutchfield?
I am working on a story about THIEL opening Crutchfield - a bizzare move for a traditional audio-speaker company.
On some levels, I respect Kathy Gornik's ballsy move. In the Los Angeles market 3 of the top 4 selling Mercedes dealers are within 15 miles of each other (Fletcher Jones, Laguna Niguel and House of Imports) where most other markets have protected dealers. For example, in Phoenix there are only 3 dealers (one is new) yet the market is the 4th or 5th biggest in the nation. The result is in LA and OC - mercedes are on every corner. Kathy's bet is she can have the best of both worlds. Time will tell.
On another level - THIEL is an old-school company with many old school dealers that will NOT take kindly to this move. It will impact their sales unless Crutchfield can gurantee orders to protect them. Crutchfield doesn't market online nor does THIEL which is a double whammy against THIEL on this deal. Audiophiles and home theater enthusiasts alike do ALMOST ALL of their reseatch online and excellent newer companies like Revel, Wilson, MartinLogan, Paradigm, B&W, PSB, Gallo, Aperion, Usher and many others have stolen a lot of the marketshare from old-school companies like THEIL.
Where I think THEIL blew it was promoting them being a "green" company. when I sold THEIL at Christopher Hansen Ltd. in the early 1990's here in Beverly Hills, THEIL was way ahead of the game in promoting renewable resources. I belive they are still into the concept but who ever hears about it? This is a HUGE mistake on their part. Even the evil empire of Walmart is going green. with that said, does anyone think THIEL will open Walmart? Perhaps if they made speakers that better matched the 2,000,000 flat HDTVs on the market - they could get the meeting?
Jerry Del Colliano