205: Powerhouse Alliance Talks Tech Trends and More

Written by Rob Stott

March 12, 2024

Powerhouse Alliance Executive Director Dennis Holzer dives into the world of distributor buying groups with us and talks about the trends in product and purchasing that they see on the distributor side of the business.


Rob Stott: All right, we are back on the Independent Thinking Podcast, and joined today by Dennis Holzer, the executive director of Powerhouse Alliance. Dennis, appreciate you taking the time and calling in, and wanting to do a podcast, man.

Dennis Holzer: I’m happy to be here. Thank you for having me on this beautiful 92 and sunny degree day in Pittsburgh.

Rob Stott: Oh yeah, right. Well, I guess I should save this episode then and publish it in the summer? Or can I ever publish an episode with those degrees being called out?

Dennis Holzer: Well, not if you want the truth and only the truth.

Rob Stott: No, that’s awesome. Well hey, fun to get to talk to someone from the other side of the state. I don’t know, how you feel about Philadelphians?

Dennis Holzer: On this podcast, it’s fine. On the game field, it’s a different story.

Rob Stott: No, that’s awesome. Hey, I got a lot of love for that city. I spent a couple of years, my college years at Duquesne University, so I know all about Pittsburgh and the South Side, and Forbes Avenue, all those college campuses along there. Crazy, you get Duquesne, Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon, and then what, you also get Point University-

Dennis Holzer: Point Park?

Rob Stott: … Point Park University.

Dennis Holzer: Point Park, there’s Chatham University, and there’s also Carlo College, all within-

Rob Stott: All on Forbes Avenue.

Dennis Holzer: Yeah, all on Forbes Avenue within a three-mile radius.

Rob Stott: It’s incredible. So, I had a lot of fun out there, so I enjoy getting back when I can as well. So, awesome to be able to have you on and talk to you, and dive into Powerhouse Alliance because there’s a lot to talk about. It’s some fun stuff going on in this space, so we appreciate the opportunity.

Dennis Holzer: Yeah, Powerhouse is pretty unique, if I can say so for myself. We have 10 members which encompass 70 warehouses across the country. And the great thing about Powerhouse, and this has nothing to do with me, is we have 10 guys who are all in wholesale distribution who all do the same thing, but they do it 10 different ways. And the reason they do it 10 different ways is because it’s their territories and they are confined to their territory. There are territory restrictions. They’re in their territories, and frankly, what my guy can do in Boston would not work in California, and what my guy in California can do would not work in Boston, and Chicago may not work anywhere. So, that’s what makes it unique. The people are homegrown at each location.

They know their markets. Our youngest distributor in age is about 40 years. Our oldest distributor is 155 years. So, when you’ve been 155 years, I mean, first of all, you’ve seen all the cement sidewalks redone, but that’s Pioneer Music. But as I said, these are homegrown distribution family-owned companies where again, Pioneer Music, 155 years, 154 years, they’re now on their sixth generation. But all of them have brought their kids into the business, and their kids are eventually or already starting to take over the businesses. So, it’s really been a great thing. And as I said, it’s unique in distribution. It’s not this corporate mass entity that, I call it the Target method where Target sends out an email from Minnesota, every store does what they say and they all look alike. You’ve been in one Target, you’ve been in all Targets. It just may be turned a little differently, but the Hershey bars are in the same place at every Target store. So, that’s the uniqueness of Powerhouse.

Rob Stott: There’s a lot of synergies between the way Powerhouse is set up, and I look at Nationwide, obviously we’re on the retail side, but that we’re coast to coast but it’s regional based. A retailer in California, to use your example, might not operate, probably doesn’t operate the same way an independent retailer in Boston does. But they can still talk to one another and learn about how they’re going about their business, the strategies that work, maybe the product categories that they’re even seeing that are doing well compared to one another, and really learn and grow their businesses based off of that.

Dennis Holzer: Well, ironically that you say that, that’s how Powerhouse got into business. My background is distribution, but the one thing with distribution is that, and this applies to retail too, it applies to frankly every level, you’re afraid to say anything about your success to anybody else because you never know if they’re going to be shipping into your territory the next-

Rob Stott: Yeah, it’s your secret sauce.

Dennis Holzer: Yeah. But what brought Powerhouse together was everybody wanted somebody to talk to. And so Powerhouse, everybody thinks we got together as a buying group first and foremost. And yeah, we are a buying group, but first and foremost we got together so 10 guys can sit in a room and talk about best practices. And the uniqueness there is, and I repeat this to my guys all the time, if somebody needs a new phone system, there’s nine other guys in the room who have phone systems. And what a better way than to talk to someone who’s in a similar business, and you can say, “Hey, I’m looking at that Toshiba phone system.” And the one guy will say, “Hey, you know what? I have it, it’s tremendous.” Or another guy may say, “I have this Novell system and it’s terrific,” or, “I may have this system, and man does it stink. Did I make a big mistake.”

So, that’s the uniqueness. And when you talk about buying of trucks for delivery, I mean, we all know there’s hundreds and hundreds of things we all do every day that a lot of cases we take for granted until they break and we need them. And so, a truck is an example of that, a phone system is an example of that. Warehouse equipment, packaging, obviously we all do a lot of shipping and a lot of receiving. So, something as simple as taping a box. My friends at UPS, and RP, and FedEx are not going to like this, but they’re not in the take care of all their packages business, they’re in shipping them as fast as possible and throwing them out the back of the truck as quickly as possible.

Rob Stott: We’ve seen the social posts. Who cares about how it gets to the doorstep.

Dennis Holzer: And obviously during COVID it was 10 times worse, because everybody was shipping everywhere and every truck was packed. And so, there’s just a lot of different things that it doesn’t matter, again, what level you’re at, things you encounter every day that if I need a phone system, and I’m going back to the phone system, yeah, I can do the homework and that’s going to take me hours of Googling, and calling, and making appointments. But now if I have nine guys sitting next to me and six of them have a Toshiba system, I’m going to ask them and then I have one call to make if I’m happy with what … And I know cost basically, too. So, that’s what brought Powerhouse together and the uniqueness of Powerhouse in a market … And again, a lot of things I’m going to say are at all levels in a market that is …

And I’m sure for a lot of your dealers too, if you’d have said to me four years ago when COVID really erupted, I thought, “Oh my God, we’re all in for trouble because who’s going to let an integrator or somebody into their house unless it’s absolutely mandatory?” Your refrigerator breaks or something. And I’ve been doing this 43 years and how wrong I was, people let them in their houses in droves, and people were buying TVs and appliances, and really upgrading their house A to Z. So again, any help you can get, and that’s what I’m sure, I know that’s what Nationwide does for their dealers, that’s what we do for our members is put them on an easier path. They have enough to deal with every day.

Rob Stott: Yeah, absolutely. And I love too, I say the word synergy, and I’m glad you mentioned the word buying group for you as well. So, explain though the difference, because people sitting here listening, distributor, how do distributors have about … What’s the difference between a retail and a distribution buying group? What are the benefits that you’re bringing to your members of Powerhouse?

Dennis Holzer: So, I bring a lot of benefits, just as Nationwide does. The first benefit I bring is that when you own a business, and again, it doesn’t matter if it’s a retail business owned by an independent person, or a distribution business owned by an independent person, you need to have lines obviously to sell. And every day you need education. Maybe you have these three lines, but out of the blue here comes a fourth line, and you got to do the work, and you got to follow up on it, look into it, see if it makes sense for your business. Same thing goes for powerhouse, especially in electronics right now. The way companies are approaching things, I’m not sure in three to five years from now you’re going to have to get off your recliner for anything, because everything’s going to be controlled by your phone or your tablet. And the only thing you’ll need on your recliner is a little motor so you can drive it into the kitchen, get your dinner, back out, do your banking on your TV, do your purchasing on your TV.

Rob Stott: I have a life goal now.

Dennis Holzer: So, what happens is I am in charge, not that my guys don’t do it, but I’m in charge of looking at where is the market going, what are the hot lines? And that’s just at the top of things. And then obviously, when you drill down and there’s a line you want, a line you feel you need in your mix to offer, now comes a negotiation for price. And we’d all like to think that there’s just a distributor price sheet, a dealer price sheet, a big-box price sheet, et cetera-

Rob Stott: Not so easy.

Dennis Holzer: … I think we’ve all seen over the last 20 years, 15 years, that price sheet has become tie-died. And it involves negotiation unfortunately. So I do the negotiation, I get the program for the group, and then I present it to the group. And this is a step we’ve thrown in. I used to get the lines and give them to the members. Now I make them vote on the line, and if they vote, 70% of our members vote yes, then all 100% of the members, whether they voted no or not in that deal, they’ve got to take on the line.

And sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Oftentimes a lot of the lines we add are unanimous, to be frank, but there’s occasionally a line where a guy has a friendship with this rep on this line and he doesn’t want to bring something in, but that’s part of the group mentality. We are a team, and there is no I in team unfortunately, or fortunately. So, we bring it in. We only bring in three to four lines max a year. And the reason we do that, is last year for example, we were offered 70 lines, and there were several lines, frankly, that were great lines that we said no to. And it’s not that we wanted to say no, it’s that by the time we get a line in and we train our staff, we get it into inventory, we tell our dealers we have it, they start to advertise or put it in bigs for their dealers, that’s a process.

And unless we all have only one line, obviously we can’t take our eye off everything we do have. This is an addition. So, it takes time. And in my thinking for my members, one line per quarter is frankly all they can handle, all their bandwidth can handle.

Rob Stott: Now just a clarification point, when you say line, is that one specific product-

Dennis Holzer: A vendor.

Rob Stott: Or vendor? There you go.

Dennis Holzer: No, that’s a vendor’s product line and everything that goes with it.

Rob Stott: No, that’s awesome. Makes perfect sense.

Dennis Holzer: Yeah, it just takes time. And like I said, we have a loyalty to our vendors. And the other thing I got to add there is that that doesn’t mean the member, similar to what your guys do, can’t add additional stuff that is not Powerhouse. And a good example is Powerhouse’s audio video line today is Yamaha, but all my guys have Yamaha. But some in addition have Denon, or Marantz, or Integra, Onkyo, et cetera, et cetera. And I don’t care about those lines, to be frank. I beat my guys up on the Powerhouse lines so much to the point, I send a report card every month to every member on what they purchased from all the Powerhouse vendors the previous month, and every member sees every member’s report card.

And that’s not to embarrass anybody, but going back to the beginning of this conversation, if one guy, we have RTI and he did $10,000 this month and another guy did $100,000, I hope the $10,000 guy is going to pick up the phone and call the $100,000 guy and say, “What did you do? You really kicked my rear this month. Did you get a school bid? How did you get to that number?”

Rob Stott: Well, it’s a great point too because back to you mentioning group mentality, as much as it is learning from one another, you can’t deny the fact that there’s always a little bit of a competition factor as well. We’re human nature, we love to compete and learn, and realize success in whatever form that comes in, being able to see how you stack up against other individuals is a great way to learn, another way to learn. So, to see-

Dennis Holzer: And the majority of the time, even though we look at it at first sight is negative, it typically makes us better at what we do, and smarter. So, while we look at it as, oh man, he kicked my rear end last month, hopefully next month you’re going to be a little smarter, you’re going to do things a little differently if that’s possible. And maybe that guy got lucky that month. So, luck plays a part in everything we do too. Just everything applies. And again, it always goes back to always being on the same page with everybody listening. And I know you guys have it, I have it. You introduce something and somebody says, “I can’t sell that.” And I hear it often. The truth of the matter is let us not decide what we can sell, let the dealer decide if he wants to buy it from us. So, in my lifetime, all of us have bought a lot in great products, really great products that didn’t sell, and frankly, a lot of crappy products that sold like hell. So, you just-

Rob Stott: Good luck figuring out these consumers, huh?

Dennis Holzer: Yeah. I mean, you do to some extent, but I hate when people underestimate the consumer or make a decision for them.

Rob Stott: Well, and that’s happening a lot right now, just economically. Consumers are really performing, if you will, against some seriously negative expectations that have been set out for them by economists out there all over the place. And I want to give you a chance, because you mentioned something too about you got a unique look at categories and how they’re performing, and just the direction things are heading. For what should have been, for all intents and purposes, a really down year. And in some cases it was very roller coaster like kind of year. What are you seeing as you look back from the distribution side, how did 2023 wrap up as a year?

Dennis Holzer: I’ll tell you, I’ve been doing this a long time, as I said, and 2023 is one of the first times in my career that it was really, really unique. And first of all, and this is famous, we all do it. You can’t believe everything you read or hear, that’s first of all. Second of all, we were coming off of three history years during COVID. And so, we have our final history year last year, and now all the economists, et cetera, et cetera, are saying, “Oh my God, you’re going to have to wear ripped jeans for the rest of your life because you’re not going to be able to buy a brand new pair of …” And for the most part, the majority of our members are up over last year.

We have a couple pockets around the country where they’re about 5% down in totality. And when I look at 5% versus a history year, my members say, “Oh my God, I’m down 5%.” I look at them and say, “But that’s verse history.” If that was the worst year you ever had, 5% down versus the last year, you’re not doing so bad. So, overall our business has remained strong. Now, in fairness, a lot of our dealers are integrators, drive a white van with no name on it. And so those guys, the dealers they’re selling to are not typically your Best Buy customer. So, they’re still doing different things in their house, maybe not to the level they were last year, but they are still replacing TVs, they still are doing different things.

Certainly with all these new gadgets you can that, as I said, you can sit on your recliner and do anything. So our business, knock on wood, has really been, in totality, has been very good and we’re happy with it.

Rob Stott: It’s a point that I don’t think has been made enough. I think I first heard it maybe back at CEDIA during there was that state of the industry buying groups up there talking amongst each other, and mentioning it is, I think historically we’ve wanted to compare year over year. And that’s just the way we’ve been accustomed to looking at how business is performing. Did I do better than last year? Did I do worse? Why? Why not? And you mentioned it, some really just off the charts years in terms of performance. So, to try to comp compared to what are some all time high numbers, it’s going to look down, but we almost have to change the way we look at it. Almost those pre-COVID years or just getting back to, I hate the term getting back to normal, but more on a traditional curve of how growth is looking.

Dennis Holzer: You’re right. And I don’t know that those last three years were on an anomaly because ultimately if you replaced your TV two years ago, you’re probably going to replace it in the next two years anyway. So, it may have sped up some of that. But the other thing is the dealers that you have that are selling more of the high-end products, whether it’s a Thermador, a Viking, a KitchenAid, et cetera, those customers in fairness are not as affected by what happens to an average consumer every day. So those guys, that refrigerator goes or it’s bad, they’re still replacing it immediately. So, the last thing we can afford to do, and we’re all famous for doing it, and I certainly put myself in there, is you hear what you hear on the TV, you read what you’re read in the newspaper and your brain says, “Uh-oh, we better start to panic.”

And that’s not the way, unfortunately or fortunately, this economy works anymore. And I’m going to say something, and it’s not meant to be political, but when we talk about inflation, and that’s the buzzword, the truth of the matter is I don’t term it inflation. And I don’t term it inflation because if you’re paying the cook at Wendy’s $8 an hour, and now you’re paying him $18 an hour, the hamburger he’s making is going to go up in price because you went from $8 to $18. So, when we talk about inflation, that cost of that hamburger went up, but so did somebody’s salary. And you got to put both of them. It’s not just one side of the equations going up, it’s both sides of the equation going up.

And I don’t look at that frankly, and I’m probably weird, I don’t look at that as inflation because if it were just the product going up, that’s true inflation. But the salaries are going up for these people too, which is causing some of this. So, a guy who was making $8 an hour and selling the burger for $5, now he’s making $18 and he’s selling it for $10, you don’t want to pay more but you’re not saying no to a raise either. You need to tame the talk.

Rob Stott: I see where you’re heading, and I mean, hey, we’re all a little weird too, so I completely get it right. But no, so I want to dive into looking at this last year and then look ahead as well, but were there some areas specifically around product that you looked to as these were where the wins were this year, or the categories that exceeded expectation over the past 12 months?

Dennis Holzer: I think the sizing of TV. Again, I’ve been in this business all my life. The difference for me to most is when I owned a distribution and I sold it in 2008, I was a white goods and a brown goods distributor. I had Whirlpool at the time, and I had RCA and Toshiba at the time. So I get it, and these are unique times. I mean, we’re talking about all these fancy new gadgets and different things, but it’s amazing to me that I thought when we got to 65 inch TVs, and now I’m aging myself, how much larger is the consumer going to want? If you really want to go big, you got a projector in those days. Well now, 72, 75, 82, 85, 98 inch TVs, we’re basically selling a lot of those as fast as they come in. And that was pretty surprising to me that … And we’re all, especially those who understand the TV business, you know it goes down and costs 25% every year.

But there’s a lot of consumers who don’t want it to wait till next year when it goes down in price, they want to be the first one to have that size TV because they want that size TV.

Rob Stott: Early adopter syndrome.

Dennis Holzer: Yeah, absolutely. So, I think that surprised me a little bit. Other surprises are the ups and downs of receivers. Frankly, during COVID, you couldn’t get enough of them. Anything that came in sold out the next day. Why? I don’t understand. Now we’re after COVID and receivers have really slowed down. I’ve tried not to judge the consumer anymore. Now I want to just go with the flow and let, obviously they’re going to do it anyways, determine what they want. But so, TVs have surprised me, receivers have surprised me in the wrong way. What hasn’t surprised me and continues to grow is the networking business.

And I’m a great example. You don’t realize how many devices you have in your house that require a network until you sit back and you say, “Oh my God, I never realized.” An average consumer probably say five, six, and all of a sudden you’re at 20 before you even … I have two daughters. So a wife, two daughters and me, that’s four phones. I have a Powerhouse phone, that’s five phones. Everyone has a computer, there’s four more computers so now we’re at nine. Everyone in my house has a tablet, there’s four more devices. We have four TVs that are actively Smart TVs.

Rob Stott: It racks up quick.

Dennis Holzer: Absolutely. And you don’t realize how quick, and obviously it’s not 3:00 in the morning you need to worry about the speed, because your router will fly through at that time. But it’s when somebody’s streaming a TV program, someone’s on their computer, someone’s doing this, someone’s doing this, now the speed has dropped from 60 miles an hour to 5 miles an hour, and everybody’s complaining. So, that business and the advancements in that business cease to amaze me. I know if I would’ve said to my parents that they would have just two of them having 10 devices in their house, they would’ve looked at me like I needed to go be drug tested. So, I think that part of the business. And I should have started with this by saying Powerhouse specializes in anything you need for the home theater category from A to Z, anything you need in the networking category from A to Z, anything you need in the residential security category, A to Z, and we have added the commercial category.

We’re certainly not A to Z, but we are working our way there. And again, of those four categories I have guys, my UI supplies distributor in New York, New Jersey, they have everything I’ve mentioned, and they have a whole electrical division with fixtures and whatever else goes with electrical. So, all my members have at minimum what I have, but all of them far exceed just what Powerhouse does.

Rob Stott: No, that’s awesome. And something that you mentioned throughout there too is that how things are moving. I think one of the big things we heard over the last couple of years supply chain wise is that chips were getting scooped up, unavailable, really impacting the electronics business and how available things were, and how quickly they were able to move through supply chains. Do you feel like we’re back to normal? Is it better than it was a couple of years ago at this point?

Dennis Holzer: Yeah, it’s predominantly back to normal. The unique thing is, and I think again, including me, we all read the newspaper and we heard all the horror stories. While we certainly encountered shortages throughout COVID, and it’s puzzling to me but we didn’t encounter line shortages. What we encountered were SKU shortages. So in networking specifically, which contains a lot of chips, we may not have had the exact router you wanted, but we would’ve had a router below or a router above in the same line. So, while it did hurt us on certain models and in certain vendors, we didn’t experience the shortage nearly to the levels that you read about in the magazines and the newspapers. Again, I don’t want to say we didn’t have it because we did, but if our dealers needed to do a job of any type, we could fill those jobs with the product.

But again, there may be some wiggle room on this SKU, we had to go up a step or down a step to fulfill the whole order. And we’re back. I laugh because not only is everybody shipping everything, and every back order that was out there for those two years, trust me, every vendor has shipped. But we’ve also seen a lot, some price decreases now that all that inventory came in.

Rob Stott: Things are catching up.

Dennis Holzer: Absolutely. So, we’ve seen some price decreases as a result of all the inventory back to, for the most part, normal. There’s still a couple here and there of shortages, but it’s nothing that major.

Rob Stott: How’s that set you up for the new year as we look to ’24, any areas? You mentioned obviously receivers, TVs, kind of what they’re doing and things like that, but is there any category or just generally speaking what your anticipation is, or expectations are for this year?

Dennis Holzer: I think the TV business as we’re getting bigger, and bigger, and bigger, that continues and will continue to do well. I think the networking category for the reasons I mentioned, it will continue to do well. One of the categories that has been doing a lot better and continues to get better is the outside category. And people where they want to duplicate their kitchen and their family room on their back deck. So, specifically we have got to do a better job, all of us, in educating the consumer that there’s a lot of consumers out there, for example, in TVs. There are certainly outdoor TVs that are made for outdoor viewing. And a lot of people say, “Well, it’s a little more money. I’ll take my indoor TV and I’ll put it outside.” And first of all, it can be hazardous, not definitely as hazardous, but it can be.

Secondly, people, what they don’t understand is just because they have it under an awning and it’s not getting wet, the temperature increases and decrease, everything in there starts to corrode and it hurts the TV, let alone it cancels out the warranty on the TV. So, we do need to educate the consumer better that it’s just not a sales pitch, don’t put your indoor TV outside. There’s reasons for it that are very, very valid reasons. But I think COVID, obviously a lot of us stayed home, and with increases in costs of everything, people are staying home more and entertaining home at more. And so, the outdoor kitchen, the outdoor home theater, I expect that category to continue to get bigger and bigger. And I think we’re going through in that category now.

We had a 43-inch TV out there, and now there’s 65-inch TVs available, and bigger. And hey, we have a deck up here and we have something down here. So, I think there’s a lot of opportunity, and what I tell my guys obviously in all the dealers is, “Hey, you know what? It doesn’t hurt, and I know there’s an expense, but put something on your floor and if your consumer sees it, there’s a hell of a chance, because a lot of our people are very, very good salespeople, there’s a chance if you educate the consumer instead of letting them only look at Google, they’re going to buy more product from you, they’re going to see things. And with the financings that you offer, really what is the cost of adding another TV on the outside if they can get one year same as cash or one year no interest, et cetera, et cetera?” So, that’s what I’m looking for.

And again, I was at Samsung this week. There’s a whole host of new gadgets coming, and wireless speakers, and wireless this and wireless that. And so, I think the future looks bright. And I would just tell everybody, don’t read into everything you hear what’s negative. Let’s let the consumers make their decisions.

Rob Stott: I love that. And if I didn’t have one more question, that’d be a good one to end on. But one thing you’ve mentioned a couple of times throughout as well is education. And it is such an important part of what goes on in this space. We see it at events like CDIA throughout. I know all the groups have education baked into their events, distributors as well. So, what’s your approach to, whether it’s obviously your members, they’ve got dealers that also need to be educated, and then there’s the consumer. So, what’s the Powerhouse approach to training and education?

Dennis Holzer: So, it obviously slowed down during COVID and it’s now starting to ramp back up, but my goal is to have one training per location per month for Powerhouse, for whoever purchases from Powerhouse. And all of those trainings are no charge. Now, we have added a component from CDIA, where CDIA is now using our locations to host some of their own CDIA trainings. And people laugh at me when I say this, but this is the truth. We make nothing on those trainings. CDIA, when you want to come to one of those, and those are certification trainings to be able to get certified, we host it, we’re there, they’re in our locations, but you have to pay for those. 100% of those funds go to CDIA. You would register with CDIA, you would pay CDIA. The certification obviously comes from CDIA, but we’re hosting it. And the goal, frankly, the reason we’re hosting it is if we get 10 dealers and 9 of them know us but 1 doesn’t, I have the opportunity to introduce a Powerhouse member to that one dealer.

But over in that plus that, we’re trying to do one training per location per month, some of those are held by … We have a full staff now that has been CDIA certified trained, they all have their certifications. So, we’re doing a lot of those trainings. Some of those are we have network trainings, but then we also have ERO or Luxo, or different vendor specific trainings. So, we’re trying to really mix it up. We encourage everybody to come and learn. You’re not required to buy anything, you’re not required to do anything. And maybe you’re not in the category, but you come, you listen. You may leave and say, “You know what? This is too serious for me.” But you may leave and say, “Hey, I could try this. This is a good place to start.” And the one thing with Powerhouse, unlike vendors, and again, I’m not picking on them, you don’t need to buy master cartons of products from us, you don’t need to order in advance.

You call me and you say, “I need one brown faceplate,” you will buy one brown faceplate. So I encourage everybody, and I’m not an inventory pusher or anything like that. I get beat up by everybody when I say that. My goal is if our dealers have clean showrooms and they display product, there’s nothing more of a sword in my heart when a dealer says to me, “I can’t sell that,” because he’s always going to base it on history. And tomorrow is a lot different than today, today was a lot different than yesterday. And so, I just think you have to be, in this market today, you’ve got to be a lot more open to try things. It doesn’t have to be a million dollar investment. And as I said, that’s what distribution is good for. We can get you into a category as low-priced as can be. And we’re not going to beat you up as a vendor where, hey, take my top 10 SKUs, take three of each and pay me. I would say to you, as I said, put one outdoor TV on your floor.

Rob Stott: Give it a shot.

Dennis Holzer: Give it a shot. And there’s times where there’s money involved, either from you, coming from you, coming from me. Maybe it gets to the point where you say, “Hey, I absolutely can’t sell this TV. Do you have a dealer?” Maybe at a little discount we can move it from that dealer to another dealer who needs a TV like that, or put it on their showroom. But don’t ever say, “I can’t sell that,” until you’ve at least tried. And please don’t base it on 1920 sales when you did have that and you couldn’t sell it. That’s the difference I think in today’s market versus several years ago, selling and displaying are a totally different realm and atmosphere than it was years ago.

Rob Stott: And see, you found a way to find another good mic drop moment for the end of a podcast. I love it. See, we did it. No, it’s some really great insights. And I mean, Dennis, I appreciate the time wholeheartedly. Cool to be able to peel back the layers of Powerhouse and see your approach to business and the distribution space, and the insights too, because I think it’s always important to hear those and get your take on the direction of whether it’s categories or just how things are happening in general. So, we appreciate it and I’m sure we’ll be certain to catch up again sometime soon.

Dennis Holzer: And Rob, if I can close on one thing is that we’re all on the same team. We all have to work together. Too often, and I’m not embarrassed to say it, with some vendors it’s like an us versus them, and that doesn’t work. There’s no I in team here. My success, and I make no bones about this, is based on dealers purchasing from us. So, we’ve got to do everything we can. And I encourage your dealers, if there’s something they’re unhappy with, we’re not doing, they’d like to see, call me. And I’m not going to call their distributor and say, “Oh, this dealer called and said you’re an idiot.” I’m not the brightest guy in the world, and what they see on the first floor maybe I don’t see on the second floor. So, if there’s something they need that can help them sell, I’d be stupid not to listen.

Rob Stott: It gets back to as much as being part of a group is about learning from other group members across the category, or across the industry.  It’s the same with Nationwide members. If we’re not doing something that we need them to do, it’s very much supposed to be an open line, come talk to us so we can figure it out and find that solution. That’s why we’re here, here to support you. And it’s no different with Powerhouse.

Dennis Holzer: Teams are better than individuals, and I stand by that. You’re only as good as the team you’re on. And if there’s a tool that is not in the toolbox and you need that tool, whether it’s at the retail level, the wholesale level, whatever level, and as I said, I was just at Samsung this week and there’s a couple tools that I think we’re short. And it’s not always price, it’s not always what everybody thinks that it’s always, and I can tell you Samsung looked at me and said, “That’s not a major deal. Let us consider it.” So I mean, that’s good enough for me.

Rob Stott: No, that’s awesome. And like I said, we appreciate the time and the ability to pick your brain a bit. So, look forward to doing it again-

Dennis Holzer: It’s my pleasure, I appreciate the opportunity. And again, obviously yourself, anybody at Nationwide or any of your dealers, if they ever need my assistance in any way, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Rob Stott: You heard the man.

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