77 things you didn’t know about Abt Electronics
There’s a lot you may already know about us here at Abt Electronics. Stuff like, us being rated the number one retailer for the 4th year in a row by a leading consumer magazine. Or that our motto is “The answer is yes to any reasonable request”. But, there is probably a lot you don’t know about us. Click the link below and check out 77 things you didn’t know about Abt Electronics.
77 things to know about “A.B.T”
1. The founders of Abt are David and Jewel Abt . Jewel saved $800 and started a radio store in 1936. It is still owned 100% by the Abt Family.
2. Half of Abt’s customers pronounce the store’s name as ” A.B.T.,” but it is a family name.
3. Abt is the nation’s largest single-store appliance and electronic retailer.
4. The Abt lightning logo was invented by David Abt. David took a course at the Art Institute and was an avid artist. Some say Abt had the lightning bolt logo before Zenith, who copied it from Abt. However, it is not certain who created it first.
5. David Abt loved to be a showman and would stand on his head in the store on products and appliance boxes.
6. During the Chicago riots in 1968, David kept a gun hidden in the wall near the cash register. He also practiced firing in the basement of the small store in Logan Square.
7. Second generation Bob Abt’s philosophy is “The answer is always yes to any reasonable request.”
8. Jewel Abt was charged with assault by the Morton Grove police for asking a customer to calm down. The customer was trying to return a four year old boom box that was out of warranty for three years.
9. Jewel celebrated her 95th birthday on November 29, 2001 at her favorite place: the store
10. The third generation of Abts — Mike, Ricky, Jon, Billy — joined the business in the 1980s to 1990s. They share the title of President and were required to work outside of the family business prior to joining full-time.
11. The City of Chicago dedicated the corner of Wolfram Road and Milwaukee Avenue in 2005 to “Jewel & David Abt Way.”
12. David and Jewel Abt were inducted into the CEA Hall of Fame in 2008 along with Dr. Fritz Sennheiser founder of Sennheiser, Eddy Hartenstein founder of DirecTV, and Martin Cooper and Donald Linder co-inventors of the cell phone that year.
13. Five of David and Jewel’s great-grandchildren (the fourth generation) are now working at the store.
14. Abt has survived many other established electronic and appliance companies including Polk Brothers, Bruno’s, Douglas TV, Silo-Fretter, Playback, Plass Appliances, Highlands Superstore, United Audio, North Shore Refrigerators, Contractor Supply, Great Indoor Home, Expo, Music Craft, Townhouse, Wolfsons, Pacific Stereo, Columbia AV, Tweeter, Video King and Wards.
15. Abt’s biggest revenue day was in 2010 for over $10,000,000 when the State of Illinois offered an appliance rebate.
16. Abt spends under 2% of their sales for advertising in order to keep prices low for customers.
17. Abt has never acquired another business and has only grown organically.
18. The company has ventured into non-consumer electronics and appliance categories such as mattresses, HVAC, home security, furniture, watches and jewelry.
19. In 2012, Abt had over 1.1 million visitors to the store, making it one of the North Shore’s top tourist attractions. Abt’s website averaged 1.2 million unique visitors per month that year.
20. Rated the #1 Appliance Retailer in the US by a leading publication, four years in a row.
21. Abt has never had an employee layoff.
22. Abt averages more than 230,000 transactions a year.
23. The store today counts 16,900 items in stock.
24. Today’s most expensive items for sale:
- Electronics: B&W Nautilus speaker pair: $60,000
-Samsung 84″ 4K Ultra HD 3D LED HDTV: $40,000
- Appliance: La Cornue range for $47,000
- Furniture: Carpe Diem King Bed Set for $35,000
We have sold showroom vehicles in the past, including a $115,000 Porsche Panamera.
25. Abt did a car audio job valued at $104,000 on a Ford F-650 truck. It took three months and had custom panels, grills and 14 TV monitors.
26. The most popular electronic category sold today is tablets, specifically the iPad, while refrigerators are the number one selling appliance.
27. Merchandisers and buyers use real-time pricing software to ensure Abt’s pricing is competitive.
28. The store is able to ship nationwide 99% of the products it sells.
29. Abt has its own fleet of trucks for deliveries, installations and service. There is also an on-site truck wash, gas station, and service department.
30. Today Abt averages more than 1,200 deliveries a day and delivers to more than 2,500 cities in four states.
31. As of 2012, drivers don’t use paper invoices. Instead they use tablets to have customers sign off on deliveries.
32. The Abt logo can be seen on the roof of the truck and van fleet and the store.
33. Bob Abt gets many of the store ideas like the fish tank, changing the carpeting often and the employee names and cities on their sweaters from Steve Wynn and his hotels in Las Vegas.
34. If you see a pink Abt logo on a side of a truck instead of the blue Abt logo, this is not a mistake. The truck belongs to our sole on-the-road female service technician.
35. Abt has never been closed when it was scheduled to be open except for one day in 1985 when a fire started inside the store and one day in 2012 for a blizzard.
36. The store is in its fifth location in Glenview. Past stores were in Chicago, Niles and Morton Grove.
37. For seven years in the 1970s, Abt had two locations open at once. One was in Niles and one in Logan Square.
38. In the Niles location, Abt labeled their refrigerator boxes on top instead of on the side like today. Employees had to crawl on the boxes and move them daily from the basement to the first floor because there was no room for aisles.
39. The Glenview campus covers 37 acres and includes a Recycling Center and Design Center which both opened in 2008.
40. There is a two acre pond behind the store where people are able to fish for catfish, bluegill and bass.
41. Abt owns a 38.7 acre plot of land in Bolingbrook which could be used to build a second location.
42. The Abt showroom in 1970 was 2,000 feet and has grown to 114,000 feet today.
43. The company first expanded outside of Chicagoland in 1997 with their website Abt.com, one of the first to an authorized online retailer for Sony, Panasonic, Toshiba, Bose and Onkyo.
44. The campus houses an employee gym equipped with a basketball court, racquetball court, professional cardio and weight training machines, locker room and showers.
45. The store is open 78 hours a week, with customer support available 93 hours a week. However, the building is never closed with employees on-site for 23 hours a day.
46. The Atrium at Abt was designed to look like the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas with granite and marble boutique stores and dancing water fountain.
47. The Atrium at Abt features a store-within-a-store concept with boutiques for Apple, Bose, Tumi, Sub-Zero & Wolf, Thermador, Viking, Bowers & Wilkins products and Abt’s own Gourmet Shop.
48. The plants in the Atrium are updated every other week by a local garden nursery. When possible, the discarded flowers are sent to local nursing homes and hospitals.
49. Abt replaces their carpeting every six months in the showroom to keep it looking fresh.
50. Third generation Mike Abt ran the Olympic Torch in Luton, England for the London 2012 Olympic Games. The torch is currently on display at the store.
51. Twenty Abt employees perform “The Walk” daily before the store opens for four hours. They detail the showroom until it is perfect.
52. The store has the only plasma windmill made by Panasonic in the world that spins around and is programmed in Japanese. Mr. Abt saw it displayed at Panasonic’s booth at the 2002 CES, and it was sold to Abt.
53. The store showcases a floating Kugel granite globe ball made in Aicha, Germany that weighs 2.7 tons and can be spun by a child. It is one of 90 in the world.
54. Abt has a 7,500 gallon fish tank that was built in 2003, and is the largest privately owned aquarium in Illinois.
55. There is an on-site woodworking shop, which allows the store to build their own displays and has ten employees.
56. To combat shoplifting, Abt has an extensive camera systems with over 300 HD cameras, security staffers and its own fraud investigators who regularly work with the local police and government agencies.
57. The store has been a backdrop for wedding proposals, wedding receptions and wedding and prom pictures.
58. Abt has become a testing ground for many manufactures who like to have their product brought out on a smaller scale before bringing it to the mass market. Whirlpool’s 6th Sense appliances, Bang & Olfusen TVs, and LG’s 100″ Hecto Laser TV are a few.
59. On busy shopping days, employees park off campus and are shuttled in, freeing up the Glenview store’s 1,100 parking spaces.
60. Abt has found creative ways to recycle 96% of its waste including 2.2 million pounds of cardboard and paper from going to the local dump, over 350,000 pounds of Styrofoam from going to the landfill, and over 13 million pounds of appliances and 1.4 million pounds of electronics each year from ending up in the garbage each year.
61. The average monthly electrical bill in the store is approximately $11,000. There are two natural gas co-generators that can produce up to 1.6 megawatts per hour, which allows the store to be off the power grid during the day.
62. Abt employs over 1,100 people, all located in the Glenview store. Staff members range from 16 to 79 years old.
63. All retired employees have their vests framed and hung in the store’s Wall of Fame.
64. Wally Mulinski and John Pacion retired in 1990 after a 54 year career at Abt. Both men started in 1936 and held numerous positions.
65. More than 60 of the Abt staff members have been there for more than 20 years. The longest-tenured non-family member currently is Terry Forrest at 46 years. He started on the trucks in 1967 and is now a manager and great ambassador for the company.
66. The Chief Operating Officer was a golf caddy for Bob Abt before joining the company in 1984.
67. Abt has customers from all around the world. We speak 23 languages including Arabic, Russian, Polish, Korean, Spanish, Hebrew, Serbian, Hindi, Tagalog, Tamil, Ukranian, Italian, Lithuanian, Greek, French and Assyrian.
68. One employee travels 150 miles or 2.5 hours each way to get to work.
69. Dozens of employees have met and married their significant others at the store.
70. Abt sponsors different sporting teams for their employees including ice hockey, football, soccer, softball and bowling.
71. Abt was rated the 20th Top Workplace in America according to the 2013 ranking by Workplace Dynamics. They asked a million employees to rate their workplace and then ranked the companies based on their responses.
72. In 2013, Abt created a wellness program for their employees, with over 80% of the staff participating.
73. The Abt Family established the For Autistic Kids Foundation in 2001 to raise funds to broaden the public awareness and understanding of autism and for the research for the early detection, prevention, treatment and cure to benefit children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders.
74. Coins collected from the fountain in the Atrium are donated to the For Autistic Kids Foundation.
75. Jennifer Hudson performed at the Abt Holiday Party in 2006 prior to her movie “Dreamgirls” being released. Hailey Reinhart, the 2011 American Idol 2nd Runner Up, performed at the 2011 Holiday Party.
76. Abt owns the restaurant next door, “Jolane’s Restaurant & Bar” which was named after Jewel “Jolane” Abt. It seats175 and features contemporary cuisine with a European flair.
77. We bake over 288,000 chocolate chip cookies in our Atrium each year for customers on the weekends.