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The official blog of Abt Electronics & Appliances

Archive for March, 2009

Abt Video Buying Guide: The New 24-inch iMac

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

Are you in the market for a new desktop computer? Have you had a chance to check out Apple’s new 24-inch iMac? If not, this video buying guide, featuring our Apple Store manager Josh Davis, will take you through all the details you need to know. You’ll find out about all the different configurations available, some of the more popular accessories, and the features you’ll enjoy with Apple’s iWork and iLife software.

To see all the Apple products available at Abt, click here. If you have any questions, please contact one of our knowledgeable Apple sale people. Also, be sure to check back here often for our continuing series of video buying guides, which will keep you updated on all the hottest new products on the market.   —by Graham W.

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An Inspiring Tale Of Survival

Monday, March 30th, 2009

Like any other group of people, the employees at Abt go through their share of joys and sorrows, triumphs and tragedies, and every other human emotion and experience that affect a person’s life. One particular Abt employee and his family have recently gone through an especially difficult period, but fortunately they have pulled through and are looking forward to much better times ahead.

Tony Cullotta, who has worked at Abt for 24 years, and his wife, Jeanne, found out in 2004 that Jeanne had late-stage ovarian cancer. As if that weren’t enough of a burden to bear for the parents of four young children, Tony was diagnosed with kidney cancer while Jeanne was undergoing chemotherapy treatments at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

Tony and Jeanne Cullotta with their children
(Credit: Kenosha News/Kevin Poirier)

Although Tony had used up his paid time off while tending to matters related to Jeanne’s illness, the Abt family gave Tony more paid leave of absence and other help while he took care of his own illness. Abt employees also donated some of their own paid time off to Tony, and a fundraiser / battle of the bands was held at a local pub to support Tony and Jeanne. The good new is that Tony’s cancer was limited to just a portion of one kidney, which was successfully removed, and Jeanne’s chemotherapy produced good results.

The family lives in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and on April 25, Tony and Jeanne will serve as honorary co-chairs of the American Cancer Society’s 21st annual Run/Walk for the Cure in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin. The event raises funds for cancer research, and if you’d like to participate or make a donation, call (262) 764-9324.

Everybody at Abt extends their best wishes for Tony and Jeanne’s continued recovery and the health of their entire family.    —by Graham W.

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Abt Encourages Everyone To Observe Earth Hour

Friday, March 27th, 2009

People throughout the world are going to perform the same act at the same time this Saturday night, although it’s probably not what popped into your mind just now. “Earth Hour,” an event organized by the World Wildlife Fund, begins tomorrow at 8:30 p.m. local time in every location, beginning on Christmas Island near New Zealand. The goal is to encourage 1 billion participants to turn off nonessential lights and other electrical devices for one hour.

Landmarks all over the planet, including the Eiffel Tower, the Acropolis, the Empire State Building, and Abt, are taking part in this event and will power down for the hour. As many of you know, Abt is actively involved in a variety of “Green” programs, and we also operate our own recycling center.

In addition, we generate our own power from natural gas with our own co-generators, use high-efficiency oversized fans in our warehouse to reduce the need for heating and air conditioning, and operate our own delivery fleet that is certified by the state of Illinois as being a “Green Fleet.” We also have installed solar panels and wind turbines on the roof above our Atrium area. For more information on all of Abt’s Green initiatives, click here.

This week, we also are encouraging all of our customers to observe “Earth Hour.” Who knows, maybe people can make this a daily, instead of a yearly, event and significantly reduce our overall impact on the planet.    —by Graham W.

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NBC Weekend Web Show Will Feature Abt

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

Chicago’s NBC Channel 5 recently recorded two segments featuring Abt’s Apple Store manager Josh Davis for the station’s Weekend Web program, which presents the latest news on Web-related topics and technology. In the first segment, Josh talked about the new 17-inch MacBook Pro laptop and the latest version of the iPod Shuffle, while the second one covered Apple’s iLife ’09 software. Both segments are tentatively scheduled to air this Saturday and Sunday.

“The hosts, Art Norman and Charlie Wojciechowski, have a ton of energy, and it’s really fun to be in the studio with them,” says Josh. “They are really in tune with the newest technology, and they get really excited by it. It’s pretty interesting to see all the dynamics that go into running a TV show and all the people that are involved in putting it all together.”

Keep an eye out for more appearances by Josh on the Weekend Web. It looks like Art and Charlie have found a kindred technology spirit.     —by Graham W.

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Take Advantage Of Sony Reader Digital Book Offers

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

There’s really no easy way for one person to carry more than 300 books wherever he or she goes. Wait, I take that back. What I meant was there really is an easy way for one person to carry more than 300 books wherever he or she goes. That way would be to get a Sony Black Portable Reader System, and now is the perfect time to do just that.

Not only can you save $50 on the Sony Reader at Abt, but you’ll also receive 100 free eBooks with your purchase. To top it off, Sony has teamed up with Google to make 500,000 public domain titles available on the Reader for free. This makes the collection at Sony’s eBook Store the largest of any eBook reader.


What else does the Reader Digital Book offer? Besides weighing in at just 9 ounces, how about an internal memory that holds about 320 average size digital books, optional removable Memory Stick Duo media or SD memory cards to hold even more books, and a 6-inch touchscreen display with a built-in light. The screen lets you to zoom in and out and adjust the text among 5 different sizes, and you can also turn pages with a slide of your finger and utilize annotation, highlighting, and search applications.

All in all, the Sony Portable Reader System makes it much easier to do as the great humanitarian Krusty the Clown commands: “Give a hoot, read a book.”     —by Graham W.

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New Cell Phone Display Makes Decisions Easier

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

Last week we told you about our new GPS display, but we also have a new installation in our Small Electronics department. The majority of the new counter/display area contains cell phones from AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile, but there are also portable speakers, headphones, and cell phone accessories on display. The interior area contains new work stations for the sales staff.

“It’s a combination of old and new maple wood that has been stained a warm red tone,” says Abt building manager Bob Taylor. “Our in-house master carpenter, Zarija Djordjevic, and all the members of our woodshop team did a great job with the actual construction. We also have installed hi-tech LED lighting, which is less harsh than normal lights and produces no heat.”

Abt's Cell Phone Display

Like the new GPS display, customers can interact with the different units on the new counter/display. “All the cell phones are active, and people can try out the various mobile phone interfaces and operating systems,” says Abt sales specialist David Ortiz. “That makes it much easier for customers to compare several different types of phones from different providers. The new counter also helps us keep things more organized, and the layout of our computers is much nicer.”

In the market for a new cell phone? Stop in and see how easy our new display makes it to pick out the model that’s perfect for you.    —by Graham W.

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Abt Shows Its Support For The BBB

Thursday, March 19th, 2009

The Better Business Bureau of Chicago & Northern Illinois held its 82nd Annual Dinner Meeting last week at the Hilton Chicago Hotel, and several Abt employees were in attendance to enjoy the speeches, awards presentations, and of course the wine and dinner. Keynote speaker for the event was Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

Billy Abt, Lisa Madigan, Bob Abt

Among those representing Abt were company CEO Bob Abt, who served as a BBB board member for 12 years, and company co-president Billy Abt, a current board member who has served for the past two years. In 2005, Bob Abt received the BBB Torchbearer Award, which “honors an individual who makes a demonstrable effort to promote ethical business practices while assisting the BBB in its self-regulating work.” The company also is a two-time recipient of the BBB Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics.

Abt employees sharing the spotlight with Lisa Madigan

An interesting side note occurred when Abt administrative assistant Melissa Albert won a raffle for a 42″ Toshiba LCD TV that was donated by one of our competitors. Melissa wasn’t sure if they would actually give it to her when they found out she works for Abt (turns out they will). “The whole thing still makes me laugh!” says Melissa.    —by Graham W.

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March Madness: Free HDTV Delivery And Hook-Up

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

With the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship tournament tipping off this Thursday, and people already feeling the effects of March Madness, there couldn’t be a better time for you to take advantage of our special prices on HDTVs. If you’ve never seen your favorite player draining three-pointers or flying in from the top of the key for a reverse jam in high definition, you won’t believe all the details you’ve been missing and how much it feels like you’re right in the middle of the action.


Click here to see our full selection of HDTVs from all the top manufacturers. But beware—there’s no known cure for March Madness, and I’m told a new HDTV just might make it worse.   —by Graham W.

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Find Your Way To Our New GPS Display

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

A strange thing used to happen to Abt customers when they tried to find our display of GPS units—they got lost. Well, not exactly lost, but they would often walk right past the display and ask one of our salespeople where the GPS units were.


“Our previous display didn’t really stand out,” says mobile electronics sales specialist Michael Duffy. “This new display is much brighter and a lot more eye-catching. The map ties in with navigation, and customers are able to handle the various units. They’re all active, and people can test out the features and compare the different models.”


The map includes seven local points of interest, including the Abt store and several popular golf courses. The image is a simplified rendering of Google maps and was created by Abt in-house graphic designer Sean Z.

Customers can also view our selection of GPS accessories in the glass displays below the map, including AC adapter cables, vehicle suction cup mounts, carrying cases, and more. Be sure to check out this new display on your next visit to Abt, or click here to see our full line of car navigation and GPS units from top manufacturers, including Garmin, Tom Tom, Alpine, and Kenwood.    —by Graham W.

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Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day With Green Electronics

Friday, March 13th, 2009

With St. Patrick’s Day coming up this Tuesday, most of the celebrating is probably going to take place this weekend, with lots of wearing of the green and drinking of the green and faces turning green. Another way to celebrate is to proudly show off your new green electronics to all your friends and other Irish— or temporarily Irish—revelers.

Abt carries a great selection of green products, whether green in color or “green” in the environmentally friendly sense. The 16GB green iPod nano will let you share up to 4,000 songs with people at your party or patrons at the pub. That means you can treat everyone to 3,999 variations of “Danny Boy” that they’ve never heard.

You’ll want to keep your hands free for holding food and beverages, of course, so Marware’s green and grey iPod nano Eco Runner Armband will come in handy. It’s made with eco-friendly materials and can be worn either on your wrist or your upper arm.


Marware Eco Runner Armband

To make sure the tunes keep flowing, the Solio Classic Black Universal Solar Charger has an internal rechargeable battery that can store energy from either the sun or the wall socket. It works with several types of gadgets, including mobile phones, and just one hour of sunshine will give you 20 minutes of talk time or 50 minutes of music on your nano or other MP3 player.

Have a great St. Patrick’s Day, and thank you for supporting the health of the Irish liquor industry and the Earth.    —by Graham W.

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