Since launching in 2010, the Mobile Electronics Specialists of America (MESA) buying/marketing group, has helped create and nurture a large segment of dealers who are bucking the trend in car audio, and enjoying consistent increased sales and profits.
With 134 members, generating $269 million in sales, MESA retailers together bring in more 12 volt revenues than Crutchfield and Car Toys combined, if the 2015 TWICE Car Electronics Retail Registry is accurate.
Many MESA members say their sales are up 10 to 40 percent since joining the group. Some say they were contemplating closing up shop and are now enjoying healthy sales. Two dealers we spoke to said 2017 is shaping up to be the best year in their companies’ history, both being in business for over 30 years.
Group members say they learn from other dealers and benefit from MESA’s marketing materials. Financing is also an advantage.
At the MESA Summit this week in Denver, CO, Executive Director Ryan Gunter said the group’s consumer financing programs have generated $15 million in plus business for members.
Proline of Brooklyn, NY said 25 percent of its sales are financed through MESA programs. The group says its plans approve more consumers than typical finance programs.
There was no sign of doom and gloom at the annual summit. These retailers are making money.
“When I first got into MESA 8 years ago, I was debating whether to put the for sale sign out,” said Dean Magnussen of Sound Warehouse, UT. “This year we had our best year ever in 39 years. We’re doing more this year than we did back when we were also selling home audio.”
2017 was also a record year for Stereo King, OR since the shop opened in 1981, said President John Coleman.
Avenue Sound, NY said its sales are up 30-40 percent since joining MESA, Sound of Tri-State, DE is up 15 percent, Proline is up 30 percent, Performance Auto Sound, WA said its profitability is up 35 to 40 percent, Basin Electronics, NM which joined the group 4 years ago is up 20 percent and Tunes N Tint, FL is up 20- 25 percent. Two other dealers said they were up 10 to 15 percent.
Some of those retailers joined MESA in 2010, when the recent great recession was still in wide effect. But many MESA retailers said they are seeing consistent gains.
“The industry is still alive, it’s still kicking. All the negative things you hear, is not true here,” said Mehdi Narimanian of Sound of Tri-State.
Suppliers said MESA has become an important force in the industry. The group represents a large portion of JL Audio’s revenue, said VP Sales Carl Kennedy.
He credited MESA with avoiding, so far, a pitfall of many buying groups. “Where buying groups have gone wrong in the past is they add too many dealers and too many brands. Thus far, MESA has done an excellent job of balancing everyone’s interests,” he said.
There are other industry groups that have helped create highly successful retailers. MESA doesn’t have a monopoly on that score. But its scope has expanded to where it has created a large class of reliably successful retailers with significant buying power in a market that is declining overall.