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Flanner’s Temporarily Shuts Doors in Milwaukee

Led by former PARA president John Flanner, the PRO Group member company closes its custom retail store while trying to renegotiate finances.


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In a continuing sign of the strain on regional custom retailers, Flanner's Home Entertainment in Brookfield, Wis. has temporarily shut the doors of its 26,000-square-foot custom retail store.

The family-owned store has been in business since 1891 and is run by former PARA president John Flanner. The company is a member of the very selective PRO Buying Group, which in recent years lost its most prominent member Tweeter Home Entertainment to bankruptcy.

According to an article in Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Flanner says the temporary shut-down is due to financial problems, but the company is not out of business and has not declared bankruptcy.

The company’s website defaults to a message from John Flanner which says:

Like many businesses, we've faced some challenges from the recent economic downturn. We’re in the process of renegotiating our business and financing relationships to improve the company. This process has taken longer than expected, and we are no longer able to provide the experience or level of service we strive to provide. Therefore, we are temporarily pausing operations. We appreciate all of the support we've received as a local, family owned, independent business, and we intend to continue serving this community for years to come.

According to the article, Flanner’s attributes about one-quarter of the store's $15 million in revenue to custom installation service. The business was started in 1891 by John Flanner’s great grandfather.

In the past year, two elder-statesmen custom retailers - Myer Emco and Bernie's - shut their doors due to increasing competition.




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Article Topics

News · Hybrid Dealers · Pro Group · Hybrid Dealers · Flanner's · 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.

6 Comments (displayed in order by date/time)

Posted by isf4hd  on  05/06  at  07:03 AM

That is totally sad and I’m certain that all in the industry join me in wishing John Flanner and his intrepid crew nothing but the best in emerging from this challenge a stronger, healthier company. I have very fond memories of calling on Flanner & Hafsoos (as they were known then) back in the 70s and 80s and of interacting with John during his tenure as PARA prez.

Posted by Julie Jacobson  on  05/06  at  07:16 AM

Here’s what I tweeted (@juliejacobson) ... pass it on:

Milwaukee AV lovers: Support Flanner’s, which has done so much for the local community and the industry. http://bit.ly/9RYI9a

Posted by isf4hd  on  05/06  at  07:28 AM

and I’ve just become a Flanner’s “fan” on Facebook . . . let’s all do everything we possibly can to help them through this crisis:

Milwaukee-area audio/video and home theater lovers: Please Support Flanner’s, which has done so much for the local community and the consumer electronics industry. It would be a sad day indeed to see one of the oldest retailers (possibly THE oldest) in the country become yet another victim of our current down economy and increasing competition from the big box stores.

Posted by CaW  on  05/10  at  11:44 AM

I feel sorry for the higher-end stores going the way of the do-do.  But the markups, the state of the economy, and the growing base of technical literate consumers spells the end for these stores.

I am going to miss the high end stores, but their time has passed.  They can’t compete with big box stores that offer products that are very close to the same performance of the products of the high-end stores for substantially less.

Posted by z  on  07/02  at  11:32 AM

What do we do it we still have warrintees?

Posted by GeminiQuest  on  08/16  at  12:40 PM

I once upon a time was employed by Flanners Pro Audio.  I would like to see further expansion into the fine detail work that their skill accentuates.

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