Abt Exclusive

Things You Didn’t Know About Abt

Abt sales specialist, Larry, standing in front of a spray painted Abt mural.

Whether you’re a loyal customer or are just seeing the name “Abt Electronics” for the first time, there’s lots to learn about Abt, our history, and where we’re going. From fun facts to integral parts of our business, there’s so much that makes our store different. We’ve been going strong for 86 years: read up on what makes us special in our blog post on 76 things you didn’t know about Abt.

From left to right: Jon Abt, Mike Abt and Billy Abt.
Jon, Mike and Billy Abt in the store’s Atrium

  1. Dave and Jewel Abt founded their very own company back in 1936. Jewel used her $800 life savings to start a radio store alongside her husband. Three generations later, the business is still owned completely by the Abt family, but we sell a lot more than radios now (just ask our mattress department).
  2. Many customers pronounce our store’s name as ”A.B.T.,” but Abt is the family name!
  3. We are the largest independently-owned, single-location retailer of electronics, appliances and home goods in the nation.
  4. Want to know about Abt and where we got our lightning logo? It was created by David Abt. David took a course at the Art Institute and was an avid artist. You’ll see that lightning on every Abt truck that drives around Chicagoland (and beyond).
  5. You might notice that one of the roads that lead to Abt’s parking lot is “Zenith Drive”. That’s because this land was once owned by competitor Zenith, a company that made radios and televisions.
  6. David Abt loved to be a showman! He would sometimes stand on his head in the store on both products and appliance boxes.
  7. 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 their small Logan Square store.
  8. Second-generation Bob Abt’s philosophy was “The answer is always yes to any reasonable request.” From salespeople to installers, we still operate by that philosophy every day.
  9. Jewel celebrated her 95th birthday on November 29, 2001 in her favorite place: the store she helped build.
  10. The third generation of the Abt family—Mike, Ricky, Jon and Billy—joined the business in the 1980s and 1990s. They share the title of Co-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.” It’s right near where our first storefront was in Logan Square. You can see a copy of the sign near our Merchandise Pickup space.
  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. Several of David and Jewel’s great-grandchildren (the fourth generation) have worked or are working at the store.
  14. Abt has survived and thrived where many other established electronic and appliance companies have failed, 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.
A black & white photograph of Abt salespeople training in the past.
Our salespeople always know about new technology first– and we have since Abt first started.

  1. Locals might see or hear advertising about Abt on the radio, on TV, or on billboards around Chicagoland. We change them seasonally, so you’ll always see or hear something new!
  2. Abt has never acquired another business and has only grown organically.
  3. You can find more than just a classic kitchen appliance or home TV here; the store has ventured into categories such as mattresses, HVAC, home security, furniture, watches, jewelry, luggage, sunglasses, fitness equipment, car audio, and so much more.
  4. In 2022, our website had a total of 45,501,859 users. That’s from people shopping for products, exploring our Learn Center and more! 
  5. We’ve been rated the #1 Appliance Retailer in the US by a leading publication for 14 years in a row!
  6. In our 86 years of business, Abt has never had an employee layoff. We value our employees—to learn more, check out our monthly Employee Spotlights and Star Employee Features! 
  7. Abt today has over 35,000 products for sale, both in the store and online.
  8. Today’s most expensive items for sale:

Electronics: Martin Logan Neolith speaker pair: $120,000 for the pair

TV: Samsung 98″ 8K QN990C Neo QLED Smart TV (2023): $40,000

Appliance: La Cornue Chateau Supreme Grand Palais Range: $312,550

  1. We have sold showroom vehicles in the past, including a Ford Bronco and a $115,000 Porsche Panamera. 
  2. Hoping to know more about Abt and our custom audio work? Our team has done many car audio jobs, including one valued at $104,000 on a Ford F-650 truck. It took three months and had custom panels, grills and 14 TV monitors. 
  3. The most popular appliance sold last year was a great over-the-range microwave by GE, while the most popular electronic was the Sonos Arc Soundbar. What beat both of them out in popularity? Bulk candy from Abt’s Candy Store! Head into the store to learn about Abt’s collection of sweets.  
  4. Merchandisers and buyers ensure Abt’s pricing is always competitive, but our price match guarantee makes sure that if you see a product at a better price somewhere else, we’ll meet it! For more details, learn about Abt’s price match guarantee policy.
  5. Thanks to our award-winning logistics team, we’re able to ship our products across the contiguous United States! To learn more, check out our shipping and delivery page.
  6. If you’re a Chicagoland customer, you’ll know about Abt and our own fleet of trucks for deliveries, installations and service. We even take care of all of them on-site with our own on-site truck wash, gas station, and service department.
  7. Today, Abt averages 1,500 deliveries a day and delivers across Illinois and into parts of Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana.
  8. As of 2023, we train our installers in-house with our new training kitchens. Here, our drivers learn how to troubleshoot and install classic appliances as well as luxury models. They learn from some of our most experienced trainers and get hands-on experience before they touch a single new appliance.  
  9. If you look down at any of our trucks from above, you’ll see our logo. It’s on top of the store as well! 
  10. Bob Abt got many of his ideas for store attractions from Steve Wynn and his Las Vegas hotels, like the fish tank, our fountain and the employee names and cities on sweaters and nametags.
  11. Abt has never been closed when it was scheduled to be open apart from one day in 1985 when a fire started inside the store and one day in 2012 for a blizzard.
  12. Our Glenview store is actually our fifth location. Past stores were in Chicago, Niles and Morton Grove, as well as our initial storefront in Logan Square, Chicago.
  13. This is a fun fact—for seven years in the 1970s, Abt had two locations open at once. One was in Niles and one in Logan Square. That’s the only time there has ever been more than one Abt!
  14. In our Niles location, Abt labeled refrigerator boxes on the top instead of on the side as we do today. There was a shortage of space, so employees had to think creatively. Employees had to crawl across the boxes and move them daily from the basement to the first floor, all because there was little room for storage.
  15. The Glenview campus covers a full 75 acres and includes both a Recycling Center and a Design Center which both opened in 2008. The showroom itself is 114,000 sq. ft., too!
  16. There is a two-acre pond behind the store where people are able to fish for catfish, bluegill and bass.
  17. Glenview’s Community Park West is just to the north of Abt’s campus. The collection of parks includes a skate park, playground, basketball court, baseball, softball, and soccer fields, a bocce ball area, disc golf space, and a dog park, known as “Community Bark West”. We’re a dog-friendly store, too! 
  18. The Design Center is perfect for anyone interested in doing further design work on their home. Lighting By Fox is full of next-gen styles for chandeliers and lighting, while Starved Rock is a design house for cabinetry and similar kitchen needs.
  19. Some stats about Abt and our showroom: in 1970, it was just 2,000 square feet. We’re constantly growing: while our showroom is around 114,000 square feet, we just added a new warehouse for even more storage. The expansion added over 400,000 square feet of space to our warehouse.
A night time shot of the Abt store in winter, with snowy trees and white string lights.
In the winter, we’re always working to get holiday gifts ready to go.

  1. The company first expanded outside of Chicagoland in 1997 with our website Abt.com, one of the first to be an authorized online retailer for Sony, Panasonic, Toshiba, Bose and Onkyo. Our site is always evolving, check Abt.com out!
  2. One of the perks of being an Abt employee? The employee gym! It features a basketball court, racquetball court, professional cardio and weight training machines, locker room and showers.
  3. The store is open seven days a week, with customer support available each day of the week. However, the building is never closed with employees on-site around the clock.
  4. The design of the Atrium at Abt takes inspiration from the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, complete with granite and marble boutique stores and a dancing water fountain. If you come in toward the top of the hour, you’ll see the water show!
  5. The Atrium at Abt features a store-within-a-store concept with boutiques for Apple, TUMI, Sub-Zero & Wolf, Thermador, and Abt’s own Gourmet Shop, Candy Store and Time Store. Some think that these “stores” are separate from Abt itself, but nope! It’s all Abt.
  6. The plants in the Atrium are switched out every other week by a local garden nursery. When possible, the discarded flowers are sent to local nursing homes and hospitals.
  7. Third-generation Mike Abt ran the Olympic Torch in Luton, England for the London 2012 Olympic Games! Don’t believe us? See for yourself–the torch is currently on display at the store in our Atrium.
  8. A group of Abt employees perform “The Walk” daily before the store opens for four hours. They detail the entire showroom until it is absolutely perfect and ready for the day’s customers.
  9. Bob Abt saw a Panasonic Plasma TV windmill displayed at Panasonic’s booth at the 2002 Consumer Electronics Show, and it was sold to Abt: there aren’t others like it. To keep up with the times, plasma screens have been exchanged for LED ones.
  10. The store showcases a floating Kugel granite globe ball made in Aicha, Germany that weighs 2.7 tons and spins. In 2013, it was one of 90 in the world. Having a hard time finding it? Check near our Merchandise Pickup area.
  11. Abt has a 7,500-gallon saltwater fish tank that was built in 2003! It’s the perfect spot to take little ones. Our moray eel, shark and schools of fish love to swim through the coral reefs within.
  12. There is an on-site woodworking shop, which allows the store to build our own displays, helps create gear for our office workers and more.
  13. To combat shoplifting, Abt has an extensive camera system with hundreds of HD cameras, many security staffers and its own fraud investigators who regularly work with the local police and government agencies.
  14. The store has been a backdrop for wedding proposals, wedding receptions and wedding and prom pictures. The fountain is a popular spot for pics!
  15. The store is also a backdrop for employee competitions, most notably our Halloween costume competition! Head in on October 31st and you’ll see some outrageous costumes. If you can’t come in, catch up later on our social media feeds.
  16. About Abt’s tech: we have become a testing ground for many manufacturers 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 & Olufsen TVs, and LG’s 100″ Hecto Laser TV are just a few.
  17. Abt has found creative ways to recycle a massive amount of waste. It all starts with our Recycling Center. Here, we keep 3.5 million pounds of cardboard and paper from going to the dump, over 800,000 pounds of Styrofoam doesn’t go to the landfill, and over 21 million pounds of appliances and 1.2 million pounds of TVs each year don’t end up in the garbage. Others are invited to recycle everything from cardboard to e-waste here, too!
  18. Our green initiatives don’t stop at our Recycling Center. Our rooftop is coated with solar panels as well, which help to generate a portion of our own electricity: enough to power 80 homes for a year.
  19. Abt employs over 1,800 people, all located in the Glenview store. Staff members range from teenagers to those in their seventies. 
  20. Many retired employees have their Abt vests framed and hung in the store’s internal Wall of Fame.
  21. Wally Mulinski and John Pacion retired in 1990 after a 54-year career at Abt. Both men started in 1936 and held numerous positions. Many people make a true career at Abt, starting at what they think may be just a summer job that can turn into a lifetime career.
  22. Dozens of the Abt staff members have been working here for more than 20 years. The longest-tenured non-family member currently is Mike Buchanan at 40 years, with Ray Sola right behind him. Read more about their stories in their recent celebration post!
  23. The Chief Operating Officer was a golf caddy for Bob Abt before joining the company in 1984.
  24. Abt has customers from all around the world. Together, our employees speak over 20 languages including Arabic, Russian, Polish, Korean, Spanish, Hebrew, Serbian, Hindi, Tagalog, Tamil, Ukrainian, Italian, Lithuanian, Greek, French and Assyrian.
  25. We have employees who drive over an hour each way to get to work. That’s an impressive commute!
  26. Dozens of employees have met and married their significant others at the store! There are lots of married couples here at Abt.
  27. Abt has sponsored and still sponsors different sporting teams for their employees including ice hockey, football, soccer, softball and bowling.
  28. In 2022, the Chicago Tribune rated Abt as one of the Top Workplaces of the year! We continue to rank time and again for this award and others. 
  29. 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 further research into early detection, prevention, treatment and cure to benefit children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders.
  30. We collect the coins from the fountain in the Atrium and donate the money to the For Autistic Kids Foundation.
  31. Jennifer Hudson performed at the Abt Holiday Party in 2006 just before the release of her movie, “Dreamgirls”. Hailey Reinhart, the 2011 American Idol 2nd Runner-Up, performed at the 2011 Holiday Party, too!
  32. We’ve had several celebrities purchase from us! If you don’t believe us, check out some of the framed autographs between Customer Service and Merchandise Pickup. From former Presidents to famous singers, everyone needs appliances and electronics.
  33. Hungry Abt customers should check out Hangar Two! The restaurant in Abt’s design center has delicious, elevated Americana fare as well as beautiful brews. Its name is based on Glenview’s historic Naval Air Station.
Two girls placing chocolate chip cookie dough on pans at Abt
Easha Patel & Abby Hannon help bake chocolate chip cookies for the weekend rush.

76. We bake hundreds of thousands of chocolate chip cookies in our Atrium each year for customers on the weekends. Head into our BlueStar kitchen to grab one on the weekends—just follow your nose!

Start Saving with Abt’s Early Holiday Sale
Employee Spotlight: Aimee Nielsen


  • Reply
    Rosemary M. Baehr
    October 13, 2023 at 4:16 pm

    Loved the all the info about Abt. I grew up in Logan Square and remember your store. Jewel was so kind to my mother by allowing her to have credit to buy a washer. My mother is 94, and she still remembers how kind Jewel was to her.
    No one would give my widowed mother credit but Abt did.

    • Reply
      Sean Ryan
      October 16, 2023 at 6:55 pm

      Rosemary, it warms our hearts to hear it! What a lovely piece of history shared across generations-Jewel built an amazing legacy that truly is more than just a store. Nothing stands out more than kindness. Thank you for sharing, and please say hello to your mother from us!

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