Alpine, Directed Join MESA

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MESA, Mobile Electronics Specialists of America, the member-owned car electronics buying & marketing group, announced its key supplier members will include Alpine, and Directed Electronics as well as the previously announced members: Kenwood, JL Audio, Rockford Fosgate, Hertz/Audison, IXOS and Hushmat.

MESA will also add a car video supplier and an iPod integration supplier to be named shortly. No additional full line car stereo vendors are expected to be added to MESA’s roster, said executive director David Schwartz.

MESA is the 20-member car AV buying group that plans to expand to 60-retail members with an eventual buying power of about $0.5 billion, it said.

The group says it differs from the In-Car Experts (ICE) buying group (which Schwartz co-founded prior to his post at MESA) because it is owned by its retailers and governed by a board of retailers, where ICE is a for-profit group, Schwartz said. MESA hopes to model itself after the Home Technology Specialists of America buying group, which is also member-owned.

“When a retailer tries to get into MESA, he goes through an application process and then the seven board members vote on the member. That’s a big difference. At ICE, the executive director decides….so this is a retailer review process,” said Schwartz.

Vendors who are selected as members receive a higher focus and priority by the MESA retail members. Retailers receive discounts on marketing programs and may participate in vendor programs.

The group has two tiers of retail members: associate members with less than $3 million in annual volume (who are not owners in MESA) and higher volume retailers who are owner-members.

Retail members receive discounts on radio and TV ads among other marketing tools. MESA TV ads cost about $750 to produce compared to a $10,000 to $15,000 cost if the retailer bought the ad as a singular company, said Schwartz.

Board members include Mike Cofield, MESA president and president of Austin, Texas-based Custom Sounds, John Coleman, president of Stereo King, Portland, Ore., Rick Snelson, president of Car Fi, Springfield, Miss.; Charlie Weisel, president of The Specialists, Tucson, Ariz.; and Mehdi Narimanian, president of Sound of Tri State, Claymont, Del., J.R. Stocks, general manager of Freeman’s Stereo Video and Kevin Clark, president/CEO of Drive-In Autosound.

Photo Caption: Mike Cofield, MESA president

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