Coffee Break with Ed Aumann, President and Owner, Appliance World – The Appliance Experts

Three Locations:  6531 W. Layton Ave., Greenfield; W188 N 10707 Maple Road, Germantown; and 17045 W. Capitol Drive, Brookfield.

Web site: 

Industry: Retail appliances

Number of employees: 45

Education: Lakeland College, accounting and marketing, CPA.

Family: Wife, Julie; children, Mike, 11, and Maggie, 9.

What was the smartest thing your company did in the past year?

“Focus on our customers. We have always had a very knowledgeable sales staff, but we really focused on our delivery team this year. Our customers trust our employees to come into their homes and set up there appliance correctly – the first time. We don’t outsource our delivery service to a third party. We think that our employees care more about the service and the experience of the customer than a third-party vendor would.”

What’s new at your company?

“We have put in 11 new kitchens into our stores in the last year. It allows us to showcase some new products. Most of these kitchens are ‘live,’ fully functional so that we can do live cooking demonstrations. Our customers can try it before they buy it. We have area chefs come in every few weeks to put on live cooking demonstrations. The aromas in the store and the excitement really make for a very unique shopping experience. We have also added a contract sales division to go after apartment commercial sales, and new building/construction contracts.”

Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year?

“We don’t have any plans to hire new staff in the next year. As far as capital investments, I would like to remodel the Greenfield location.”

What will be your company’s main challenges in the next year?

“Probably keeping up inventory levels. One of our biggest assets is our inventory. It is a fine balance of having enough inventory in stock so that you can get it out to a customer the next day if they need and, you know, in a down economy, everyone says to pair down your inventory. So, it is a very fine balance. Trying to grow the business in a down economy is a challenge, but I think that is where great customer service plays a major role, as well as creative ideas in the areas of promotions.”

What’s the hottest trend in your industry?

The hottest trend would probably be Energy Star appliances and front-load laundry washers and dryers. Environmentally friendly appliances.”

Do you have a business mantra?

“If you take care of your employees, they will take care of your customers.”

From a business standpoint, who do you look up to?

“I look up to my father. He has passed away, but growing up, he always had several different businesses that he was involved in over the years.”

What do you like to do in your free time?

“I like to fish. I enjoy spending time with my family. I enjoy traveling. I enjoy going to Las Vegas. I usually have to go out there for an annual show/conference. And I enjoy playing some black jack, but I think of one the best trips out there was when my wife and I rented a convertible and drove up into the mountains. It was amazing. I think the temperature on the strip was about 105, and up in the mountains, it was 75. It was nice to get off the strip and explore.”

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