Moving Forward at a Gallop

Moving Forward at a Gallop

Stampede Owners Kevin Kelly and Mark Wilkins Place the Distributor at the Pivot Point Between Integrators and Manufacturers

Quick Bio

COMPANY: Stampede Presentation Products
OBJECTIVE: The company has invested much in reinforcing its commitment to the pro AV business and maximizing the opportunity that it brings to manufacturers and dealers.

Stampede Presentation Products, based in Amherst, NY, celebrates its 15th anniversary in 2012. But to limit the company to the display category does a disservice to what is a remarkably diverse array of initiatives that company president Kevin Kelly and CEO Mark Wilkins have implemented. They include having invested over $10 million in the business in 2011 alone and adding more than 35 new lines since 2010 to its 9,000-plus dealers.

Kevin Kelly

Mark Wilkins

This year, Stampede plans several initiatives that they say will solidify and extend the gains they made in the last several years. These include increasing its technical support staff to 10 from the present six members; increasing inventory levels for existing and additional products and manufacturers; leveraging its relationship with its financial partners, including HSBC, to increase the amount of credit that it can offer dealer customers; expanding relationships with customers with a new Vendor Portal program that takes the entire transaction securely online; and expanding its Stampede University training program to include more business-oriented courses and a consulting program designed to help its residential dealers develop commercial markets. It’s a full agenda, but Kelly and Wilkins say that’s what it takes to maintain that position as a bridge between dealer and manufacturer.

SCN: Congratulations on a great year. It’s closing with a 51 percent increase in unit sales in your core categories, nearly 50 percent increase in operating profit, and a whopping 257 percent increase in net income, which is pretty amazing in this economy.

Kevin Kelly: The reality of the situation is that we’ve invested more this year in reinforcing our commitment to the pro AV business and maximizing the opportunity that we bring to both the manufacturers and our dealers. That investment has come in a couple of different ways. First and foremost we acquired Spire Global, which is the exclusive distributor of Sony videoconferencing in the United States. That acquisition was done solely to enable Stampede to bring the videoconferencing category to dealers that are in need of the category and certainly videoconferencing has proven to be one of the growth areas of AV. In addition, we’ve invested millions of dollars more in accounts receivable, extending more than $55 million in credit to the trade. In addition to that we support our manufacturers by carrying more inventory than ever before in our entire history.

Stampede is increasing inventory levels for existing and additional products.

SCN: What kind of opportunities are you talking about?

Mark Wilkins: If you look back five years, we had dealers that would just buy flat panels or projectors from us. Now what we’re doing with, for example, the videoconferencing side of the business, we went out and acquired a company and bolted it into ours. What this did was brought the technical skills that were required to sell that type of product. We’re now out there educating our dealers, giving them the opportunity to sell that type of product to their end users with Stampede’s support. KK : At the end of the day, we’re enabling dealers to come up with new ways to make up for lost revenues. So part of what we try to do is enable dealers to do a job that they may not have been able to do themselves without the values and valueadds that we provide

SCN: Stampede has said it will “launch a breakthrough cloudbased video conferencing solution that will bring new sales opportunity to its dealer base.” What is that?

KK : At the end of the day, many of the dealers that we sell to and support have customers that need multi-point solutions, and they may only need that multi-point solution one, two, three times a year. And let’s say for instance one of the leads that we pass along to the dealer turned out to be a sale and maybe they want to do that 35-to-50-person meeting four times a year. With the cloudbased service, they could simply rent the time that they need, and our provider would enable that meeting to take place. It’s allows you to rent what you need for a particular point in time versus making the investment to go ahead and have that capability all the time, even though you may only use once in a while.

For even more in-depth discussion from Mark Wilkins and Kevin Kelly, click here.

The staff of Systems Contractor News serves the AV integration industry with thorough news analysis, trend reports, and the latest product and technology information—delivered to an audience of decision-makers.