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First HDTV Warehouse Opens in U.S.
Jan 7, 2005
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The former president of the Gateway Country retail chain is looking to bring the next generation of television equipment to the masses through HDTV Warehouse, a new specialty retail concept stressing selection, price, product knowledge, and service.

The pilot location for HDTV Warehouse, Inc. (Westport, CT, U.S.) recently opened in Orange, CT. The 3,800-sq-ft store offers approximately 50 different models of high-definition LCD, plasma, and rear-projection DLP, and LCOS sets, including such brands as Panasonic, Pioneer, JVC, Samsung, Sharp, LG, and Epson. There is also a selection of boxed home theater systems, TV stands and wall mounts, universal remotes, and cabling, surge protectors, and other accessories. A full range of custom installation services and extended warranties are also available.

"Our objective is to give our customers the opportunity to choose not only by such characteristics as screen size, clarity and contrast, but also by their wallets. Everything we carry is a value proposition for our customers; they're not going to find it for less in other retail establishments," said John Mlynski, HDTV Warehouse founder and CEO. "Humanizing the HDTV buying experience is part and parcel of our mission, along with dispelling the myth that you have to be a 'big-box' store to give value."

Under the design by retail design firm, Chute Gerdeman of Columbus, OH, U.S., consumers the store has a wall running down the entire left side of the store that displays more than 30 TV sets. Products are grouped under signs denoting "small," "medium," "large," and "extra large." Additional models of varying sizes are displayed elsewhere on the selling floor, including the rear portions of five informational display units that are staggered down the center core of the store. Consumers can view the sets from the comfort of movable seating cubes that are positioned throughout the selling area.

All sets are connected to the local digital cable provider, allowing consumers to view live feeds of high definition network and cable programming, as well as analog programming. "This allows our customers to see how their TV may actually play at home, as opposed to viewing DVDs or fixed programming that some of our competitors employ," Mr. Mlynski explained.

An additional area in the front of the store features a special display showing the three generations of televisions. This includes a 1961 black and white set labeled "Your Grandfather's TV," a 1972 color set labeled "Your Father's TV," and a 42" Plasma set labeled "Your TV."

The Orange store, which had a "soft opening" in mid-December and will be hold its grand opening on the weekend of Jan. 21-23, will serve as a testing ground for this niche retailer. "Once we have worked out the kinks and are ensured that the concept is rock solid, our aspiration is to prudently grow HDTV Warehouse into a regional and, possibly, national chain," Mr. Mlynski said.

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