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Best Buy Showcases Solar in Magnolia Showroom

Magnolia A/V showroom in Costa Mesa, Calif., has elite brands, automation and energy management systems.


The new Magnolia Audio Video design center inside this Best Buy includes an area dedicated to solar panel installations.

Magnolia Audio Video is making sure customers know where to go for solar panel installations as part of its new design center located inside the Costa Mesa Best Buy store in Orange County, Calif.

The store, which is one of only eight Magnolia A/V design centers, has alternative energy equipment prominently located in the showroom. There is a six-foot vignette containing a large solar panel, along with a video loop about solar technology and literature.

“It’s the first time we’ve done it, but it’s a natural fit. When we are in the home, energy management is a question that often comes up,” says COO Steve Delp. “We will go out and do the custom measurements on clients’ roofs and hold the customers hand through the entire rebate process with the government and utilities. Then will oversee the installation through our installation partner, Solarworld.”

Because a third-party company is doing the actual installation of the solar panels, Magnolia installation staff are not required to have electrical licenses.

The store includes three primary vignettes: an outdoor patio, a great room and a dedicated five-seat Acoustic Innovations theater.

Within the space are lifestyle vignettes that focus on rooms throughout the home. For example, the bedroom houses a dresser with an HDTV on a lift, a 103-inch Panasonic plasma rests on another wall, and the entire showroom is controlled by Control4. Delp likens the showroom décor to the nearby AudioVisions custom showroom, which also is owned by Best Buy.

High-end Equipment

Brands like McIntosh, Vienna Acoustics, MartinLogan, Pioneer Elite, Sonus faber, Kaleidescape, SpeakerCraft, Vutec, AMX, Primare, Marantz, Monitor Audio, NuVision and Control4 are all on display. The seven-person sales staff is well versed on what Delp calls “The Art of the Demo.” There are no scripted demos or good/better/best presentations.

Salespeople pick their own music and DVD scenes to use in their demos. “We want them to select media that they are most passionate about,” says Delp. However, his staff is instructed to start with a 2-channel demo so they can attune the customer to quality sound before moving to surround sound. The sales staff will also demo whole-house automation, multiroom audio, lighting control and HVAC control when necessary.

5 More Showrooms Planned

Delp would not disclose the cost to construct the new showroom, but said Magnolia A/V plans to have five more completed by the end of 2010. He pinpointed the Pacific Northwest, San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles as the likely locations. He said three prime considerations on selecting new locations are:
  • The passion of the existing sales staff inside the Best Buy store
  • Proximity to the company’s shipping hub in the central California town of Dinuba
  • The general affluence of the area
He said there is no target goal for how much the new location will increase per ticket sales.

“We will serve anyone and everyone who has a passion for home entertainment with a custom-crafted, complete entertainment solution that is easy to use,” concludes Delp.

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Article Topics

News · Best Buy · Energy Management · Big-box Retailers · Showroom · Magnolia · Solar · All topics

About the Author

Jason Knott, Editor, CE Pro
Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990. He joined EH Publishing in 2000, and before that served as publisher and editor of Security Sales, a leading magazine for the security industry. He served as chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Education Committee from 2000-2004 and sat on the board of that association from 1998-2002. He is also a former board member of the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation. He is currently a member of the CEDIA Education Action Team for Electronic Systems Business. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California.


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