Before Re-Sauce Part 2 – BBG Car Audio Distribution
By Gordon Dutch
As Prestige grew in 1992, Bob, Barry and I started BBG Distribution out of a tiny little workshop in Harrow. The business stated importing high quality American Car Audio and our first brand was JL Audio. JL was a fantastic company and still is. In my opinion, they produce some of the best products car audio has ever seen, but they were quite new back then. So our first BIG break came when a then larger brand called Phoenix Gold (PG) approached us. Their owner Keith Peterson (KP or Big Nose as he affectionally became known later on) and his ‘Audio Guru’ Larry Fredericks had seen the success we had with Prestige and JL and wanted to partner with us. As PG already had a decent business in the UK, this provided us with the springboard and the ‘lucky break’ we needed. It is fair to say that without the belief of KP, then we would never have been able to enjoy the success we did. I mean, who lets a bunch of snotty nosed car audio installers run up a massive credit line when they have never run a distribution business before??? Well KP did and not only did it work out great for us, but I believe for PG and all the brands we distributed.
We heavily used both JL and PG brands in our own shops, which saw us featured in more magazines, which meant we then had customers asking other shops to supply them and so the distribution business really took off. So much so that by the late 90’s we had moved into a much larger warehouse and we were supplying not only all the smaller independent car audio retailers in the UK, but also the likes of Halfords and Motorworld and many others. We were very careful about how we did this, including providing installation and technical training for anyone who became authorised to stock and sell our products and also keeping the higher products only with the Independent specialists. These retailers were people who had invested in the computer programs and RTA’s like we had, to ensure that our higher end customers only ever got the best sound and service. By doing this, we had created an effective ‘channel’ management system, but it was only years later that I really understood that we had done that ‘sub consciously’ 😊 Another lesson learned for later on in my career!
A big part of BBG’s success, was not only making sure we always had good stocks and quality product but providing all the technical and sales training. Because we had owned a retail shop and had done many high end installs, we developed a whole host of training courses from how to install them safely, how to get the best sound and most importantly how to upsell to our higher ticket products. Yet another skill carefully learned that came in handy later on in my career!
Over time we found that being a retailer ourselves sometimes caused ‘politics’ with other retailers and so eventually Bob, Barry and I parted company. Bob and Barry took over all the retail stores and I bought them out of BBG, the distribution business. Bob and Barry later re-branded that business to Prestige Audio and also took it into high end custom installation. Prestige Audio went on to win great acclaim in home audio as well. Unfortunately, a few years back Bob passed away very suddenly, he was only just over 50. This came as a huge shock to many of us. He was a real pioneer of both car audio and custom installation and a huge loss. It is fair to say that without Bob and Barry I would never have started BBG. So any guesses now for what BBG stands for, as often people asked me about that and the standard reply was the British Buying Group… but actually originally it was Bob, Baz & Gords distribution.
As the business developed BBG added yet more brands in terms of MTX and many of our retailers invested heavily in some amazing demo cars, like the one pictured here. Later on we became so successful, we even hosted our own black-tie dealer awards and conferences all over the UK. This again was great experience for running events via our new Re-Sauce business.
At that time, I also got to know another amazing man called Tom Lands. Tom joined Mitek Corp (MTX) as President of their In Car Division. Tom had previously worked for Monster cable and had helped develop the most fantastic upsell, cross sell and attachment selling program I had ever seen. We put our heads together and came up with the BBG attachment training program that not only became successful in car audio, but later was a major factor in our ongoing success as we moved into home audio and home audio accessories.
I hope you have enjoyed this part 2 of my personal business journey and do watch out next week for part 3 as I take you through our evolution from BBG Car Audio into Home Audio & Home Cinema. Diversification is often an important factor in many businesses and, if done correctly, can make a really positive difference, but if done incorrectly can also go really badly…
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Here’s what our Industry Colleagues say about us...
Peerless-AV would like to pay tribute to the incredible work Gordon and his team have done since 2009. It’s sales and brand awareness since we launched Peerless-AV EMEA in 2009 has been massive. Gordon’s strategic leadership and incredible work ethic, along with the dynamic leadership of a best-in-class team, which he assembled, has led Peerless-AV to the forefront of the AV businesses.
Global President & CEO of Peerless-AV