Enhancing services to retailers and adding 2,000 members
InstallerNet, a Boston-based company that coordinates installation of consumer electronics through the largest network of independently owned mobile and home electronics installers in the United States, has offered to acquire the Mobile Enhancement Retailers Association (MERA), a non-profit association of auto electronics specialty retailers. Under the plan, InstallerNet’s more than 2,000 members will become MERA members, and MERA will expand beyond its current specialty retailer focus and invite all retailers of mobile electronics products, accessories and services to join.
MERA’s board of trustees reviewed competing bids and unanimously accepted InstallerNet’s proposal term sheet, which will now go to the association’s retail members as a ballot for ratification. Results of the vote are expected within two weeks.
“Our focus for MERA will be expanding the mobile electronics retailer channel, bringing new value to the organization’s membership and promoting the overall growth, success and prosperity of the entire industry,” said Anthony Frangiosa, InstallerNet president and CEO. “With more than 2,000 members and our combined resources, InstallerNet can strengthen current MERA benefits, education and business solutions.”
Frangiosa continued, “We’re also committed to expanding retailer benefits with additional programs, including new business referrals, strategic partnerships, market research and industry advocacy. Ultimately, our goal is to improve their bottom line. MERA members will have real opportunities to increase revenue while reducing operating expenses. Our new programs will drive store traffic and give retailers the education and tools to provide the best customer experience possible.”
Under the terms of the offer, MERA will be restructured as a wholly owned subsidiary of InstallerNet but will be operated and managed separately. An expanded executive board of directors and trustees will be assigned to lead the association’s independent efforts. Barry Vogel, MERA’s current president and executive director, will continue on a pro-tem basis. The current volunteer board of trustee leadership will also continue to serve while MERA welcomes nominations for additional participation.
“InstallerNet offers tremendous resources to help carry forward MERA’s mission and give our members a stronger voice in the industry,” said Vogel. “We do not have a full-time staff, and our leadership consists almost exclusively of dedicated member-volunteers who do a terrific job but must also maintain their own businesses. The members lose nothing and gain much. InstallerNet can devote the resources to plan and execute MERA’s objectives.”
Stephen Witt, vice president of marketing at Alpine Electronics of America and MERA board member, stated, “The concept of running the association as a for-profit business can have a strong impact on the future of the category and help pull together several industry initiatives that lack the individual resources to be successful. This should create a win-win-win for MERA, retailers and manufacturers.”
InstallerNet will provide a new commitment to revive and enhance the MERA KnowledgeFest positioning it as the premiere mobile electronics event for 2010. As in the past, the 2010 event will offer training workshops as well as a forum for manufacturers and retailers to network, but it will be significantly larger due to the increased membership.
MERA will also have access to InstallerNet’s ProTeam Services subsidiary, which mans a fleet of vehicles throughout the country to support member retailers and will gather information and provide counsel. The ProTeam is already established to administer and proctor the Mobile Electronics Certified Professional (MECP) testing program. MECP was developed in 1991 to promote professionalism in the mobile electronics installation industry and is managed by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).
InstallerNet is an installation solutions provider for the consumer electronics industry delivering content, technology, services, and logistics to CE retailers, manufacturers and installers. The company specializes in merchandizing and coordinating consumer electronics installation services through the nation’s largest network of independently owned mobile and home electronics installers. It has developed a unique approach to better merchandise services through its branded InstallCard, a patent-pending model that allows retailers to sell professional services like a gift card. With proprietary web and call-center technologies InstallerNet can provide the complete package to meet and exceed customer expectations.
About the Mobile Enhancement Retailers Association (MERA)
MERA is a non-profit association founded in 1996 and based in Indianapolis, Ind., MERA’s purpose is to elevate the success of specialty retailers in the mobile enhancement industry. Membership included more than 600 companies throughout the United States, comprised of retailers, manufacturers, manufacturers representatives and others related to the industry who realize professionalism and continuing education are cornerstones for successful business. MERA serves as the safe and neutral field where all parts of the industry can gather to learn from and share with one another.