A shop visit with Aaron Sholtis, President of HiDEF Lifestyle


How and when did your retail business start? How many Syou have goals? they Likewise have an online shop. What is the main difference between Your Online shop and Your local showroom?

Aaron Sholtis: The first shop was opened as an online shop in 2004. Then we opened the retail showroom. The online shop has exactly the same type of customer as the showroom customer: someone who appreciates and knows audio. In the retail business, we have a diverse range of customers, and over the years we have trained staff trained to build, maintain, and cater to all of their needs.

What makes your retail business different from others?

Sholtis: One advantage is the size and location of our showroom. We’re two and a half hours from DC and three hours from Pittsburgh. We are only a relatively short drive from the mid-Atlantic metropolises. And as you have seen from the size of our showroom, there would be no way for us in these cities to build a 26,000 square meter building. This enables us to showcase many more brands and technologies compared to some of our competitors. We call it a destination showroom because we come from all of these metropolitan areas and can attract customers for the trip and drive to us to see everything at our location.

One of our greatest assets has always been our online business. We have been a serious player in the online world for almost 17 years. We started online against most of our competitors who started in reverse order. We have also set up a social media presence and produce content for YouTube. All of these things drive traffic through our website, but also locally in the market.

What are the top three Things you did have contributed the most to your success?

Sholtis: We started the other way around from most of our competitors. We started online before we got into consumer retailing and that is certainly unique. It has always integrated us more than some of our competitors.

Second, I think the greatest triumph for us has been the relationships we have had over the past 17 years. Relationships and your reputation are the most valuable things a business can have. We treat those of the highest importance, whether they are a customer or a supplier, or even our shipping suppliers.

And then one of my favorite sayings is that as soon as you stop growing, you start to die. You cannot plan for someone else to not come along and do what you can better than you. We are never satisfied with how we go in the market or what we offer our customers – we always strive to do what comes next.

What are your goals this year?

Sholtis: COVID has certainly changed the way we think about retail. We would like to redesign the design to offer more service and technology presentation than product presentation. We want to set up a system in which our showrooms are event-based. This means that every 30 to 60 days we hold a new event for customers so that they can see new technology from one or many of our suppliers. We want there to be a reason for returning traffic to come in. I think this will be important for us and for others in the future – to do more education-based selling. We have also invested in opening our West Coast mail order facility, which will hopefully also open a retail showroom. Getting products quickly when customers shop online and have quick access is extremely important. It is extremely important for us to expand our skills in this way.

Do you want to expand in any way or sell other categories? What categories are you in?

Sholtis: We are also committed to continuing our growth in our Canadian online business. It was very healthy and grew there for us. Additionally, we are always looking for new categories – you know, all new health and air quality control systems are very interesting to us and something we could look into and we will continue to look into lighting categories.

Is there anything about building your business that may not have gone the way you wanted it to and that you learned from?

Sholtis: We spent 2019 recovering from a theft by a financial controller I hired and there wasn’t just one theft. There was a total disruption of our financial records. You know, you learn business and life lessons every day, and that was a great lesson to learn from. So we were able to bring everything back into harmony and have checks and balances to better protect ourselves. In addition to COVID, 2020 was a very challenging year for us. But with that we have grown as a team and as a company, and our skills have grown. We expect 2021 to be a very, very big year for us.

What’s your favorite corner in the store? Can you show me?

Sholtis: In all honesty, we sell categories of products for cars, audio, televisions, and other technologies. It’s all so fun and changing so quickly. I think the rate of change is really what drives me, whether it’s the cars we build or the audio we design. Constantly reinventing these things is really what our passion is about.

What have you done to overcome the pandemic obstacles in the customer experience?? The shop is closed and available by appointment just.

Sholtis: It was difficult and challenging as the showroom was affected. We have all seen over the past year that customer demand has increased. Everyone stays at home, in the home office, works from home, for example when networking. New audio products have been extremely difficult to inventory and deliver. While people don’t want to spend as much time in a showroom as they do, they want the technology and the knowledge. It has increased the importance of social media and increased the drive for installation and design services. And we are beginning to see that the exhibition rooms are also turning. We expect this to continue in 2021.

How does Dealerscope help? they in your daily business?

Sholtis: Of course, we need to keep up to date with what’s going on in the industry and we have a lot of good relationships with manufacturers. But there are many things that we don’t know about. That’s why we stay in touch with everything that is important. Our relationship with Dealerscope has been wonderful for many, many years and has helped keep our name out in the industry too.