What do you like about your "favorite" retailer?

Hi everyone,
I'm having a debate with a few friends and I thought you might be able to help us out.

The question has come up about audio retailers: What makes your favorite retailer your favorite? What qualities, practices, etc. keep you going back?

Last, if you have a favorite retailer, why do you buy product from them instead of A-Gon?

Thanks in advance for your input!

Honesty is the number one quality, absolutely. In addition, the people at my favorite dealer have a strong enthusiasm for this hobby, and enjoy trying out new products and auditioning them with their customers. Over the years I've also become friends with the folks who work there. If they carry a piece I want, I'll buy it from them because I like to give business to my friends.
They give me sodas. Also, they happen to be wonderful people whom I greatly their company. (Friendly atmosphere/very fair prices/home trial-outs and absolutely no pressure to buy whatsoever. I do try to purchase/and support local dealers as much as possible.
This is pretty ez,, most people treat you with so much dissrespect.
If you go into a place like Sounds Like Music in Scottsdale, AZ you will see the true difference,
They have 1000s of cd's on the wall for you to use as you wish, if you want to hear something they dont have,, they go to the store and buy a copy!
I was actually sitting there and a sales associate walked in, THEY ACTUALLY APPOLOGIZED for barging in and shut the door!
Places like this just understand.
All my favs encourage you to listen long without them in the room.
OTOH, all the ones that make me cringe watch you while you listen and periodically chirp in their evaluation of the products in use. Very annoying...
Cheers, Spencer
After playing this game (abnormally high-priced audio) since 1990, I can say I have no favorite dealer.
I don't wish to sound mean or cynical but I've never found a dealer who wasn't in it for the money and/or gave a crap about me except as a profit source.
I've been going into a hi-fi store in Evanston, IL since the Seventies and they still don't know my name (same people in there, of course).
Another North Shore dealer (formerly from far western suburbs -again Chicago) COMPLETELY IGNORED ME when I changed my mind about an equipment purchase at the last minute. Mind you, I still wanted to buy equipment from this guy, just changed the equipment (and no, nothing had been ordered from the factory yet). I had previously purchased a brand new ARC amp from this dealer so it wasn't like I was a stranger. This crap weasle still has me on his mailing list -what a dork.
Another famous Chicago dealer (near north on Clark street) said they "didn't want the business" when I asked them to bias my VT-100 (they are former ARC dealers).
This is just lazy. The procedure takes about an hour and I've never seen this store even remotely close to "busy".
Also, their print add specifies "Service" as something they provide. Not even.
I'm not saying audio dealers spit on me when I walk in but I will say (to you youngsters): Don't ever think a dealer is your friend or "audio buddy". They are there to make the most profit humanly possible -period.
There is a guy named Don who runs a shop called the Listening Room in Pikesville, MD outside of Baltimore. If Don carries what I'm looking for, I'll unhesitating buy it from him. The odd thing is that I often do better because of it price-wise--he's given me discounts off retail for no particular reason and has several times found me factory demo or refurb equipment with full warranty for far less than I'd pay for 2nd hand on A'gon. He is very friendly--but not overbearing--and he'll let you just listen.

He also doesn't do the things that I hate about other dealers I've run across:

- I buy a fair amount of high end audio gear, but I don't tend to look like someone who has the $ to do that--shaving on w/es never appealed to me and I'm far more comfy in ripped up jeans, beat up sneakers and tee shirts than anything else. Most audio dealers tend to ignore me, but Don always has the time.

- Don's shop is a long ride from where I live, but Don is happy to work with me over the phone. Most dealers figure the phone call is just a troll.

- If I arrange to show up and he happens to be in the midst of something else, he seems to make a point of acknowledging me and not just leave me feeling like I'm chopped liver.

- Don doesn't slag other gear just because he doesn't carry it. That seems to be endemic among other audio dealers. I can always count on him for a fair opinion.

So, there are good dealers out there. Maybe Don's style is just a good match for me. Either way, if you happen to be in Pikesville, I'd recommend a visit.
A good retailer must be honest, represent high quality product lines and have a strong enthusiasm for audio retailing. They must be customer focused and provide assistance to their prospects and customers when auditioning equipment and various upgrades. They need to understand live music and how to put together high quality audio systems for different prices ranges. A willingness to listen and understand the needs of their customers is very important. Facilities for equipment repairs and for selling used equipment is a great plus for a retailer. A friendly atmosphere, fair prices, limited sales pressure and home trial-outs are important items for a good retailer. I am very happy with my audio retailer and have purchased several items from him over the years.
Larry at Hollywood Sound (Agon Dealer) is a turntable guru and is relentless at helping when the manufacturer balks or drags his feet. He does not subscribe to the theory that newer/more expensive=better

I like listening to music. I hate fiddling with small parts and measurements and angles. He set up my TT, and I relax and listen.
The massage parlor in back and all that gratuitous sex! Oh, and I like retailers that always ask me if I want paper or plastic, and who double-bag the heavy stuff and offer to carry it out to my car for me. But most of all I like the sex. Yeah, that honesty crap just pales in comparison!

His bussiness is his hobby and his passion is his hobby. In this world of e-commerce it is very difficult for a bick and mortar store to be sucsessful. To have my bussiness it take`s many different variables. Knowledge is probably the most important then price, inventory ext. ext. Anolog is his mainstay plus he stocks about 300 new 180gr records sometimes its better to touch the record`s and ask question`s why he would buy it. Try to get that from Music Direct, Elusive Disc, Acoustic Sounds, not to say I still don`t buy from them but knowledge over a land line is just not the same.Plus he has a great manufactor linecard of some hard to find manufactors.
If your in Seattle go check out Experience Audio in the U District. David
Dweller is RIGHT on the money. I too deal with ALOT
of Chicago places, and the bottom line is:
IF you`re not spending a TON of money at a place,
they WON`T waste their time on you!
I remember a nice place WAS Musicraft!
BUT they went out-of-business in 1994.
Their offshoot from that store was a
NOW BIG home theater store. When they WERE A SMALL
store, they used to great me when I walked in,
and YES I spent at least $4000 in 3 years time at
their store. When they moved into a bigger store,
their service became sooo bad, NOBODY greated me
UNLESS I was spending $1000 OR MORE at a time.
Therefore, I REFUSE to give them anymore of my
money ever again! Forgive me IF I sound JADED,
but how would YOU FEEL?
I too agree with Dweller. A dealer isn't your freind; he is a dealer. Even after spending over 15/20k at their store, they're pissed because you you bought something from somebody else.
My favorite dealer closed his shop and now works out of his house.---Good for him---not good for me. I feel like an intruder under these conditions.
Of the on-line stores Underwood / Walter is as good as it gets. Just a 'professional' nice guy.---YES, still nice when there's a problem. The jumper cables guy hit me with 25% restock for returning factory stock/ sealed product. So even online dealers are different.
My local dealer has become my friend, really, not just in appearance only. Like many of the others above, he has allowed me to take items home to audition with no payment up front, treats me with respect even though I usually look/dress like a bum and did so from the first time I walked in the store, but most of all he was NEVER condescending toward me when I got back into this hobby/obsession after a long time away. I'm sure I said lots of stupid things, but he never once looked at me/talked to me like I was an idiot, even though I was. Rather, he took the time to educate me.
I haven't bought much of anything from him lately, because he doesn't carry lines I'm interested in, but I'll probably stop by there this afternoon to hang out, BS about things, maybe even talk about audio!
My favorite dealers are a local Tweeters, Sears, and Target. I can walk in without making an appointment, listen to whatever I want and I'm not wasting anyone's time and don't feel guilty for not buying anything.
Hmm... I'd say that my dealer is actually my friend, given that we spend more time just talking instead of listening to equipment. He's even left me alone in his home (he works out of it) while he did some errands to listen to music for a few hours. I'd consider him a good friend.

Definitely a rarity, however.
They honor my perspective and opinion and acknowledge that there are few if any ultimate truths in audio. When you open your store, Mike, honor and respect the customer, even if s/he doesn't like Vandersteen. :-)
Hi Dan,
Thanks for your response. When we open up I'll do my best!

Until then, I still get to have my personal opinion on things. ;- )