Remembering Bob Abt, Consumer Electronics Retailing Legend

Kef's April Sanders remembers Bob Abt, who fueled the growth of Chicagoland's consumer electronics giant Abt Electronics.

Bob Abt (on far right) during a luncheon event with Billy Abt (left) and Lisa Madigan (center).

Photos & Slideshow

CE Pro Editors · July 27, 2015

Taking over Chicagoland’s Abt Electronics from parents and CE Hall of Famers David and Jewel Abt, Bob Abt was a consumer electronics retailing legend who passed away this month. April Sanders, national accounts manager for loudspeaker manufacturer Kef, posted this loving tribute to Abt on Facebook. With her kind permission, we have re-posted her memories here. CE Pro, which featured Mike Abt and the legendary store in 2010, offers our condolences to the family.

In 1950, my father and mother lived in Logan Square neighborhood in Chicago where the Abts had their first store. My dad bought his first TV from Abt. In summer of 1967 my dad bought our family’s our first 25’-inch color TV at Abt. I bought my first Sony 27-inch TV at Abt in Des Plaines Ill.

When I became a rep in Chicago in 1989, Abt became an account of mine. Over the years, I worked with Bob Abt during my tenure at Harman Consumer Group, Miller and Kreisel Sound and KEF Loudspeakers.

I admired and respected Bob Abt immensely, as I know many other people do. I was sad to hear that Bob Abt had passed. I wanted to take the time to acknowledge such an inspirational, creative and dedicated man. Bob Abt was one of the hardest working men I ever knew.

Images: Inside Abt Electronics

Thanksgiving day 2001, I was cooking a turkey for Thanksgiving and my phone rang at 8 a.m. It was Bob Abt. He wished me Happy Thanksgiving, inquired about my family and advised me that there were four broken M&K speaker grille pins and he wanted to know if we could get him replacement grilles for Black Friday as he had the M&K 750 system on sale and was concerned that the broken grilles didn’t look good for the customers.

So dedicated to the consumers’ first impressions, Bob Abt walked his 100,000-square-foot showroom every night, sometimes until 1 a.m. to assure all displays were in working order, clean and were tagged properly and ready for a consumer to see.

Bob was a wonderful man and he will be missed, respected and remember fondly by many. God bless you Bob. My condolences to the Abt family.

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