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The official blog of Abt Electronics & Appliances

Archive for August, 2008

Oprah’s People Visit Abt

Friday, August 29th, 2008

Producers from the Oprah Winfrey Show met at Abt yesterday with GE’s vice president/ brand manager to learn about GE’s new product line of appliances. The producers were interested in finding new appliances for possible use in future “favorite things” shows and for house makeover shows. Among the new items were a “single-double” oven, which essentially is a double oven that fits into the space of a single oven; a 48-inch pro range; and the Profile Series Colossal Capacity Frontload Washer, which features SmartDispense Technology.



GE Frontload Washer



“Abt is the only store in the country that currently has these GE appliances,” said Abt sales manager Joe Klett. “The washer’s SmartDispense Technology is a great feature that lets you store a 6 month supply of detergent and fabric softener in the bottom section of the washer, and then it dispenses just the right amount as needed.”


Click here to see the full line of GE appliances available at Abt.      by Graham W.

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Oakley Rolls Into Abt

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

Yesterday was bright and sunny here at Abt, which made it a perfect day for the Oakley Rolling O Lab to come rolling into our parking lot to show off the company’s latest eyewear technology. Oakley has three of these Rolling O Labs (built into 40-foot motor coaches) touring the country to demonstrate the durability and optical quality of its sunglasses. The California-based company has been awarded more than 500 patents in its 30-plus year history, and its sunglasses are worn by some of the world’s top athletes.

Oakley truck at Abt

“We travel to trade shows and national sporting events to show off our high-definition optics,” explained Kyle Donahue, a member of the Oakley Rolling Lab research and development team. “Oakley has the widest variety of lens options in the world, and these labs let us demonstrate the superior clarity of our lenses and also how durable they are.”

Oakley truck logo

One of those demonstrations is a high-velocity impact test, which involves firing a 1/4-inch steel shot at a speed of 150 feet per second at a pair of sunglasses just 8 inches away. The non-Oakley sunglasses (which shall remain nameless) shattered, while the Oakleys took the bullet for the team without shattering and with what appeared to be a smile and a look like, “Is that all ya got?”

Oakley truck inside

Oakley has a huge variety of men’s and women’s lifestyle and sports performance sunglasses available at Abt, which you can check out by clicking here— and don’t worry, if you try on a pair, we won’t perform the high-velocity impact test on you. —by Graham W.



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Kids Shoot Hoops With The Pros At Abt Clinic

Monday, August 25th, 2008

Several lucky kids had the chance to enjoy a fun workout yesterday afternoon in the Abt Fitness Center during a “Shoot Hoops with the WNBA Chicago Sky Players” basketball clinic. For those of you who might not know, the WNBA (Women’s National Basketball Association) is a 14-team professional league with franchises in major cities like Chicago, New York, Houston, and Los Angeles.

 Sky players sign autographs

Cathy (left) and Quianna signing autographs

Two players from the Sky, rookie guard Quianna Chaney and second-year guard/ forward Cathy Joens (yes, that’s the correct spelling), were on hand to lead the kids through stretching exercises and fundamental drills before they all got a chance to shoot some hoops. There also was a Question & Answer session and an opportunity for the kids to pose individually with the players for autographed photos. Other giveaways and prizes included sunglasses, T-shirts, basketballs, autographed team posters, and clappers (noisemakers) to use at sporting events.

Basketball drills with Sky players

Kids thank Chicago Sky players

Abt purchasing coordinator Eva Arroyo had three nieces and a nephew in attendance. “They were thrilled to meet professional athletes, and the Sky players were so nice to them,” said Eva. “My oldest niece is 11 years old, and she was so excited to see that it’s possible for girls to do something productive and become successful. It really opened her eyes that anything is possible. All the kids had a great time.” —by Graham W.

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Whirlpool Cabrio Washer & Dryer—Staff Favorite

Thursday, August 21st, 2008

Getting back to our top product picks from our salespeople, here’s Megan Magnuski to talk about her favorite recent Abt purchase. Megan has been with Abt for five years, and during her off hours she likes to work out at the gym or play piano, write music, and sing (she claims to be a Karaoke Queen, although this hasn’t been officially confirmed). Megan also enjoys relaxing in her new townhouse, “laughing with my friends and neighbors. I find that any time I interact with friends and family, I’m always trying to convince them to buy something new, like a bigger TV or shiny new refrigerator.”  Here’s what Megan recently convinced herself to buy:

“I purchased the new Whirlpool Cabrio washer and dryer set when we moved into our new home. I was drawn to these models for their large capacity (it’s enormous!) as well as their highly efficient nature. After switching to high efficiency detergent, we ran our first load. I was excited about the amount of laundry that actually fit into this top-loading washer (I have 2 cats and a mechanic at home). We watched through the glass lid for about 5 minutes, noticing how little water was in the machine, and later we revisited to move the load to the dryer.

Whirlpool Cabrio washer & dryer

“The spin speed of the washer really made the laundry pretty dry, and there were no drips during the transfer to the dryer. On the normal cycle, total wash-dry time was only about 80 minutes, and the Cabrio washer and dryer easily cleaned double what our previous machines were capable of. Even the delivery team was great. We opted to do the installation ourselves, but they bought the machines in, uncrated them, and set them in place, and this was even before our driveway had been laid.   

“These are currently my favorite appliances. I never thought I’d catch myself saying it, but I love my washer and dryer. I’m always showing them off when I give a tour of the house!”

To see the objects of Megan’s affection and all the other washers and dryers from top manufacturers available at Abt, click here.      by Graham W.

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Visiting the Amazon

Wednesday, August 20th, 2008

No, not the Amazon rain forest in South America, but Amazon.com, located in Seattle. As Abt’s manager of e-commerce, I just returned from participating in Amazon’s second Seller Summit, an event where only their top 100 internet retailers are invited. Abt became a partner vendor with Amazon back in February, which enables us to sell our products through Amazon.com’s network.

Amazon's headquarters in Seattle

The summit was held at Amazon’s new headquarters, located in the PacMed building (formerly a hospital) just outside of downtown Seattle. For two days (2nd day with no air conditioning due to a power outage) the main focus was on seller performance to improve the customer’s buying experience on Amazon.com. This was a great opportunity for partner vendors like ourselves to voice our ideas on how it can be done, using things such as marketing tools, monitoring reports, and most of all better support from the Amazon.com staff when a problem arises.

Outside of the seminar, Amazon.com gave us the opportunity to speak to individuals working for the Technical Account Manager (TAM) for guidance on current issues we were experiencing, such as customer AZ claims/chargebacks (when a customer feels the product is not up to expectation) and merchandising errors due to Amazon’s product matching process. The purpose was to discover the best way to handle errors seamlessly, without customer aggravation.

Abt Electronics has been in business for over 72 years and is well known for superior customer service. However, it is going to take some time to match Abt’s customer service philosophy through Amazon.com channels, but we are ready to face the challenge. Amazon.com understands they are not perfect, and they are willing to listen and gather ideas on how they can improve to make their partners more effective.

Seattle Space Needle

On a side note, Seattle is a city with a lot of character, making it a great place to visit. I had the opportunity to visit the famous Seattle Space Needle, Pike Market Place, and taste some great seafood at the Pink Door Restaurant. If you plan on visiting Seattle, remember to bring some comfortable shoes because the city has A LOT of steep hills.—by Ken Au

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The Ball Fireman Night Train Watch—Staff Favorite

Monday, August 18th, 2008

Continuing with our product recommendations from our salespeople, we’d like to introduce Carl Prouty, who has been with Abt for 6 years. Carl and his wife, Danielle, have a young daughter (Madison) and son (Jackson) who stop by to visit us on a regular basis and keep us laughing (while we’re also working very hard, of course). One of Carl’s favorite sayings is, “In the past 100 years, my great-great great-great-grandmother has won as many World Series as the Cubs, and she’s been dead for 200 years.” If you couldn’t tell by that, Carl is a huge White Sox fan. He also likes his new watch— a lot. Let’s listen to his story:

“My favorite thing I’ve purchased from Abt in the last 6 months would have to be my Ball watch. I hate reading the time off of my cell phone, and since my last watch broke I figured I would treat myself to a new timepiece. I did a lot of research because I wanted to get a watch that would last a long time and found the Ball Fireman Night Train.”

Ball Fireman Night Train watch

“This is by far the best watch I have ever owned. The quality is amazing and compares well with timepieces that are far more expensive. It has a sweeping second hand which looks great, and the size of the watch face is 43mm, so it is easy to read and looks substantial. I like to tell people that with this watch, I not only feel comfortable shoveling coal into a locomotive engine, but I can also dive into the ocean and fly into space without worrying about it losing time.”

“Seriously, though, I wasn’t looking for anything too flashy, so this was a perfect fit. It has a very subtle design, but it is nice enough to catch some eyes. If you are into watches at all, please consider Ball when looking for a new one. It really is a great watch for the money.”

Click here to see Carl’s watch and all the other fine timepieces available in the Abt Time Boutique. —by Graham W.


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Panasonic 50 inch Plasma HDTV Tops Staff Member’s Must-Have List

Thursday, August 14th, 2008

Our next featured salesperson is Rafael, who has been with Abt for 9 years. “Raf” and his wife just welcomed a new son to their family a few months ago, and Raf has been splitting his time away from work between playing with his son, playing one of his many guitars (his current favorite is a Gibson Les Paul Studio Limited Edition), and watching his new Panasonic TH50PZ85U plasma HDTV, which he describes below:

“I purchased the Panasonic VIERA 50″ plasma TV to put in my basement, but since I’m currently remodeling that area of my house, I temporarily put the Panasonic in my family room to replace a 32″ TV. As soon as I finish working on the basement, my new TV will go down there.”

Panasonic VIERA 50-inch TV

“I had a Toshiba Cinema 50″ rear projection TV in a previous home, so I really didn’t want to go to a smaller TV. Getting another 50” was my obvious choice, and this Panasonic VIERA plasma is terrific. It has plenty of HD inputs (3 HDMI and 2 component), and HD broadcasts really look great, with excellent detail, bright colors, and deep blacks. Standard definition signals also look good, and even my favorite TV show, “Sanford and Son”—which, by the way, I have about 140 episodes saved on my HD TiVo—looks okay.”

“Setup is pretty simple on this Panasonic, with an “easy to follow” on-screen menu. Another great feature is the SD card slot. My wife has a Canon digital camera that uses an SD memory card, so when we want to view pictures of our new son, all we have to do is insert the memory card in the SD card slot on the TV and we have an instant slide show of our new bundle of joy.”

To see the huge selection of HDTVs available at Abt, in all sizes and styles, click here.               —by Graham W.

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And Now A Word From Our Salespeople

Tuesday, August 12th, 2008

You know, we got to thinking that with more than 1200 employees on hand here in Abt land (thankfully we’re not all here at the same time), we have an incredible, untapped source of great stories and information that our customers might enjoy and benefit from. Well, now’s the time and this is the place to tap that source, and we’re going to begin by having some of our salespeople talk about recent purchases they’ve made and why they think Abt customers might also enjoy these products.

To start things off, we’ve selected Kevin Robles as our first guinea pig—I mean lucky salesperson. Kevin has been with Abt for about four years, and when he’s not busy helping customers on the phone or in our showroom, he usually can be found in our employee cafeteria drowning out the sound from the TV as he screams at his little plastic men while playing foosball. So now, without further ado (what the heck is “ado” anyway?), here’s Kevin:

“I purchased a BlackBerry Curve for my T-Mobile account for many reasons—texting, music, pictures, and web browsing, just to name a few. It is very hard to put this phone down. It has been nicknamed the “CrackBerry” and now I know why. I cannot leave my home without my cell phone. I feel like I’m not part of society unless I have my BlackBerry at my hip. You can download music to its Micro SD card and listen to your music in the gym or just while you’re bored.”

BlackBerry Curve Titanium

“The main feature I really like is the BlackBerry Messenger. It’s like instant messaging someone, except the only way you can communicate with each other through the Messenger is by having a BlackBerry. Each BlackBerry has a PIN that enables them to communicate with each other, so everyone you’re texting has pretty much the same BlackBerry addiction as you. I recommend a BlackBerry Curve for anyone on any service. Whether you’re a businessman on the go or a teenager who just has to see their Facebook account every second of the day, the BlackBerry Curve will not disappoint.”

by Graham W.

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Back To School: Small Appliances

Friday, August 8th, 2008

As my back to school blog comes to an end, I’ve decided to close with two very important appliances that every college student will need throughout their four years.

For all you incoming freshmen, this is a shout out to you. Get ready for your first semester of 8am classes. If you’re unlucky like I was you will be up Monday thru Friday before the crack of dawn. To prepare I suggest investing in a coffee maker, preferably one with a 24 hour digital timer. Luckily for you Abt carries the perfect one. Delonghi’s 12-cup capacity model, with a 24-hour programmable digital timer and pause and serve function, delivers all the features perfect for a college student. If you don’t like coffee I suggest getting use to it. It’s nothing a little sugar and cream can’t fix. Having a coffee maker on hand will help carry you through your early morning classes and enable you to stay focused all day long. As for the 24-hour programmable timer, you can preset Delonghi’s coffee maker to automatically brew coffee in the morning. Set it the night before and wake up to the smell of a fresh brewed pot of coffee.

Delonghi Coffee Maker & Compact Refrigerator - Abt Electronics

Finally, the most universally purchased item for back to school students has to be the compact refrigerator. Here at Abt, we prepare for the mad rush by stocking up on compact refrigerators and offering a large variety of sizes, colors, and features. We carry reliable top name brands like GE, Avanti, Danby, and more.  Stretching from 1.3 cu ft to 6.1 cu ft, Abt has the perfect size to fit your room in the dorm or apartment. These compact refrigerators allow you to store snacks, drinks, or leftovers for late at night. Having your own personal refrigerator lets you hide food and drinks away from your nagging roommates.  —by Scott Shefler

Visit us here at Abt or shop online at www.abt.com to view all of our Coffee Makers and Compact Refrigerators

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Back To School: Printers & USB Flash Drives

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008

So far I’ve featured Apple Macbooks, Apple iPods, and Bose Around the Ear Headphones, all of which make excellent gifts and are in popular demand on college campuses. If you’re looking to get back to the basics, here are few items that every student needs to succeed.

First off, the highly rated, highly efficient, Canon PIXMA MX700 Multifunction Printer  allows you to print, scan, copy, and fax. At print speeds of up to 30 ppm or 2 seconds per page, you will be able to print large reports or lecture notes minutes before your scheduled class. Save yourself long walks to the library just to scan or make copies of notes. This multifunction printer is your personal assistant at school that will save you time and money.

Canon PIXMA MX700 Multifunction Printer - Abt Electronics

The next item has helped me out of many tough situations. Transcend’s 8GB USB Flash Drive offers big performance from a tiny device. Transcend’s USB flash drive allows you to store, transfer, and back up documents and other files between computers. Even more, you can attach it to a keychain. This allows you to carry it between classes, the library, dorm rooms, and back home again. At school you will find yourself working off many different computers to complete projects, and having the ability to transfer and back up important documents between multiple computers will give you a huge advantage. —by Scott Shefler

Transcend JetFlash V10 8GB USB Flash Drive

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