Dealerscope’s Insider Talk series, as part of Facebook Live, recently welcomed David Pidgeon, president and CEO of Dallas-based A/V retailer Starpower – a company that has grown into one of the country’s largest custom home electronics retailers.
Dealerscope’s publisher, Tony Monteleone, and editor in chief, Nancy Klosek, chatted with Pidgeon about retail-related topics, but the focus of the discussion was centered on the challenges of retailing in the COVID-19 era, as Starpower celebrates 25 years in business. With five locations (four in Dallas and one in Scottsdale) Pidgeon has overseen dramatic growth during the last quarter century.
An avid fan of sports memorabilia, Pidgeon’s entire office has become a shrine of pictures and items from famous athletes and celebrities – from Olympic runner Michael Johnson’s gold-tipped shoes from the 1996 Olympics to Dirk Nowitski’s sneakers from the 2011 NBA finals.
However, Pidgeon’s real passions lie in the CE retail space, and his business priorities have shifted a bit during the pandemic, as the “business as usual” mantra is now history.
“We were one of the few retailers that stayed open through this pandemic; we didn’t close down,” he began. “As my father used to say, where’s there’s a will, there’s a way and I just couldn’t see furloughing 200-plus employees; that’s not in my DNA.”
Pidgeon added that he and his staff discovered a few things about the business, as well as some new tricks, as they maneuvered through the various situations the virus presented.
“What we ultimately found out during this time is that it really allowed us to focus more – focus on our customers a lot more,” he said. “And we also discovered that as an independent we can maneuver much more effectively than the big-box stores – and stay much more in touch with our customers – and that’s what being an entrepreneur is all about.”
The pandemic has allowed Starpower to reinvent itself to an extent, and if there can be a silver lining in a situation such as this, that was most certainly one for Pidgeon.
“We have gotten stronger and better during the pandemic, largely because we have been forced to do things that we probably should have been doing for a long time but put off because business was good. We are now giving our customers a far greater experience due to this refocus,” he explained.
As for the product categories currently driving business, Pidgeon mentioned that network sales have surged with the work-at-home orders still very much in place, as well as larger TVs and high-quality sound systems, as home entertainment needs have also taken center stage.
And, as you might expect from the name Starpower, Pidgeon taps into the local Dallas-area celebrity pool to put on roughly 50 in-store charity events a year behind names such as Tony Dorsett, Moose Johnson and Roger Staubach, to name but a few.
“Just about every local charity that calls on us we give something to,” he added. “Giving back to the community means a lot to us. When you succeed, you need to give back.”
To his fellow dealers in the space that may be struggling a bit, Pidgeon offered up a final thought, saying, “It’s time to go back, focus on who your customer really is and examine where you can cut back in inventory. Also, get with your manufacturers; get closer with them. This will end, but you just have to buckle down now.”
To listen to the full Insider Talk with Starpower President and CEO David Pidgeon, click here.