Ken Crane’s Closing

Another specialty AV store chain is closing its doors. Ken Crane’s, with 10 locations in southern California, is selling off its inventory and shutting down operations within the next two months. The company was founded in 1948 as a Magnavox dealer, according to an article in TWICE. Apparently, the current recession was apparently too deep and too wide for the company to make it across.

I suspect that the changing home entertainment market also played a part in the fate of Ken Crane’s. Quality consumer electronics products are no longer primarily for the wealthy, and the industry relies more and more on mass market products. It has become increasingly difficult to protect different retail channels, especially when they have different profit margins for the sellers. Consumers are smart enough to realize that two nearly identical models selling for different prices are probably enough the same that you can simply buy the less expensive model. And there is more information available for consumers, so they don’t need to rely as much on the guidance of a pro AV sales staff.

There will always be a place for specialty dealers such as Ken Crane’s because there will always be custom builders of very expensive homes, and these homes will need very expensive home entertainment systems. But the number of consumers who will need these services is shrinking, and we can expect to see additional store closings in the future.