After 55 years in business, Washington D.C. area-based specialty AV chain MyerEmco is slated to close its doors. The Gaithersburg, Maryland firm recently closed a few under-performing locations but when the chain lost the support of its bank - there was no saving the company. Currently, the chain has an up to 70 percent off sale to liquidate its inventory to pay its vendors. The company has not filed for bankruptcy at this point.
MyerEmco is currently ranked No. 8 on trade publication CE Pro's list of the top 100 AV dealers. MyerEmco is a dealer for BDI, B&W, Classé, Control4, Crestron, Da-Lite, Definitive Technology, Denon, Integra, McIntosh, Monster, Rotel, Yamaha and more.
The failure of MyerEmco is only one more domino to fall in the fragile world of specially AV retailers. The Good Guys, mostly based in Southern California, closed 77 powerful stores. Circuit City, a national player in consumer electronics, closed with a thud leaving 33,000 Americans unemployed. Even top level custom installation firms like Chicago's Baumeister AV and Irvine's Genesis AV have recently closed up shop. Nobody is immune in this economy where housing values have shriveled up, bank lending is basically impossible to get even with government bailouts and unemployment is nationally pushing 10 percent.
The most odd part of the industry contraction is that rarely are there any new businesses poised to take up whatever market share that's left over. The new players in the AV space are big-box retailers staffed mostly by inexperienced clerks and or warehouse stores that sell commodity based HDTVs in the same cart as a four pound box of Cheerios. Let the truth be told - there is nothing "special" about that buying experience. Retailers, installers and design firms are in bad need of embracing the "new normal" which includes adding more value for the consumer and inspiring them to spend more money than the big-box guys are asking for. At the same time consumers need to find a five to ten percent premium to support local, well educated and well staffed specially AV retailers, installers and designers to promote high performance AV. If everything in the AV business is sold at Wal-mart and or bought used on EBay, there is no need going forward for specialty audio video of any kind.