By Jonathan Stovall
I was deeply saddened when I first heard the announcement that Myer-Emco was closing. For over 50 years, the Myer family provided the DC metro area with the finest audio/video products and services available in a retail setting. The chain expanded over the years and became widely known as the premier storefront to seek high quality consumer electronics, expert sales advice and top-notch custom installation and service. For decades, my partners at Bethesda Systems, my family and my friends, have all been loyal customers.
Enter, the Internet (and those blue shirts)
As you probably can imagine, my partners and I were left scratching our heads at this news. How was it that such a successful, long-standing, family-owned business, run by experts in their field, could suddenly shut its doors? I certainly can’t put them in the same league as Circuit City and Tweeter (remember them?) because Myer-Emco was so much more. Was it the advent of Best Buy, Costco and Amazon that put the last nails into the Myer-Emco coffin? With absolutely no customized service, no follow up service, no expertise of integrated systems, these discount outlets continued to grow.
Perhaps the answer isn’t quite that clear but these venues certainly helped dilute the relativity and value of each of the smaller retailers (RIP all but one Graffiti store too). The sad thing is that Myer-Emco wasn’t higher priced, as the perception might have been. They were simply out-marketed by the big-box stores and web giants, so the majority of local consumers lost sight of the value the specialty store offered. Perhaps the younger consumers were drawn to the convenience of one-stop-shopping where they could also purchase video games, software, PC’s and mobile devices. All the while relying on online reviews and knowledge from sales associates that quite possibly could have been flipping burgers the week before. It’s sad but true—it’s what we are all currently left with on the ‘custom’ retail front.
A New Era of Service
There now exists a huge hole in our marketplace for not only quality A/V goods, but more importantly, expert sales and custom installation services. In the last 5 weeks alone, Bethesda Systems has consulted with close to one hundred ex-Myer Emco clients, from Maryland, DC and Virginia, who are “thankful to have found [us]!”. As an authorized dealer of many of the products sold by Myer-Emco (and many more), we are able to continue to provide the personalized service that is still expected by many of you. Bethesda Systems provides ongoing support to our clients, not just one shot installations. We have weathered the storm of a troubled economy keeping the highest standards of quality customer service intact. In addition to A/V we also run a full service Electrical Division…so please keep us in mind for all of your lighting and power needs as well! Our design center in downtown Bethesda, managed by its owners and staff of seasoned experts, is open to all every day, by appointment, so please call so we can discuss working solutions for all of your A/V, Electrical and Integrated Control System needs!