New Year’s Eve is just a few days away, which brings to an end one of the most fun-filled, eventful years in Abt’s history. As we close out 2016, here’s a look back at some of the notable happenings at Abt, in no particular order:
The Inspiration Studio is the result of Bob Abt’s vision for the ultimate kitchen showroom imaginable. As John Hammond from Jurassic Park might say, “We spared no expense.” Filled with the finest appliances in the industry, in kitchen vignettes created by renowned kitchen designer Mick DeGiulio, the Inspiration Studio is meant to do just what its name says. Working appliances and a welcoming environment are here to inspire customers to discover the design or products that will become their dream kitchen.
Abt has always been proud to be a an environmentally-conscious company, and that part of our identity is considered when making business decisions, from energy-efficient lighting to our on-site recycling center. This year saw two major additions to our green program: a rooftop solar array and a water-reclamation barrel.
Housed on top of our new warehouse addition, the solar array consists of 1,500 solar panels that, altogether, will produce around 850 megawatts of power—enough to run 80 homes—per year. The water reclamation barrel, located in the front of the store, is capable of holding 10,000 gallons of rainwater runoff from our roof. That water will be fed into our irrigation system and used to water the lawn and other vegetation around Abt.
For the last three years, Abt employee and car enthusiast Joey D. has organized an RC Car racing at Abt each summer. This year, Cruisin’ For Awareness grew into a full-scale celebration of all things automotive. In addition to a day of radio-controlled racing action, visitors got to gawk at the over 150 show cars on display. Definitely a great way to spend a summer Sunday! Keep your eyes peeled for the announcement of this year’s show, sometime mid-summer.
Since our inception, Abt has always tried to offer the best customer service in the industry, to be a place people liked shopping and, most importantly, to be a place our customers could trust. That’s why it was an immense honor for us to be awarded the Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics. Our first time winning the award in nearly twenty years, this was certainly one of the highlights of the year.
Abt Turns 80
2016 marked Abt’s 80th year in business. Since starting as a tiny shop in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood in 1936, Abt has moved through five different buildings, settling into our current location in Glenview, IL. In that time, we’ve steadily grown thanks to continued loyalty from local and national customers. We’re excited to see what the next 80 years hold for us!
What would a Best of 2016 list be without mention of one of the year’s greatest events? This fall, Chicagoland was overtaken with Cubs fever, as the Lovable Losers finally broke their 108-year streak without a World Series win. We were proud to show our support where we could, from dressing up in Cubs attire to partnering up with Zepp Labs to give away signed merchandise. Hopefully, a Cubs championship will make it into a 2017 roundup as well!
One of the great things about working with big brands is that they sometimes bring their friends along. This summer, we had the pleasure of working with professional chef, TV personality and all-around great guy Chef Joe Arvin. Chef Joe stopped by to cook up some savory meals in the high-tech Viking TurboChef Double Oven, which is capable of insane feats of cooking, like roasting a 12-lb turkey in less than 45 minutes. Joe filled the kitchen with energy and some mighty fine foods, and we hope he visits us again in the future!
Speaking of celebrity visits…they’re not always human! This summer, Abt welcomed internet sensation Manny the Frenchie as part of a weekend-long Dyson demo event. Fans came from all around the area to visit the famous frenchie, who seemed more than happy to smile for the camera all day.
All work and no play is no way to live your life, so we make sure to fit in a little relaxation when we can. Summer equals barbecue around these parts, so once a summer we manage to get the entire store together for the annual Abt family picnic. With delicious burgers and dogs from local favorite Poochies, plus a mini golf course, fishing derby and other activities for the kids, it’s always a great way to forget about work for a few hours and focus on having fun.
If it seems like Abt is literally always changing, that’s because it kind of is. Our latest addition to the store is the Microsoft Gaming Room, located in the back of our Connect computer store. The room features a selection of high-end gaming computers, gaming peripherals, and an Xbox One S hooked up to a giant LED panel, ready to play. Gaming computers can be a big investment, and this is the perfect way to try before you buy. It was also the impetus for us to host our first ever gaming tournament! And more are coming next year, so stay tuned!
These were just some of the highlights of a big, busy year. We’d like to give a special thanks to everyone who has shopped at Abt, referred us to their friends and family, attended our events, and just generally been a fan of ours this year. You helped make 2016 great, and we hope you’ll help us have a 2017 that tops it. Happy New Year!