Watch above: You’ve probably heard their radio ads for years, but now an independent electronics business in DDO, known for its personalized customer service, is about to call it quits. But as Billy Shields reports, it’s not all bad news.
DOLLARD-DES-ORMEAUX – Since 1991, La Boutique Electronique was one of the anchors of Boulevard des Sources in this West Island municipality. Specializing in home electronics and audio-visual equipment, many West Islanders listed the store as the place they’d go to buy their first television, or first hi-fi stereo.
Sadly, times have changed. As more shoppers purchase electronics online and at big box stores, the store is shutting its doors for good.
“It’s a 50-50 deal right now,” said Eric Boucher, a salesman at the store. “It’s hard to really see where the focus is heading towards. The retail world is a harder world, especially with the big box stores.”
Some West Island shoppers who talked to Global News said they were somewhat nostalgic about the store’s departure.
“Yeah a little bit, I think you want to make sure especially with equipment like a TV that the quality is good and the image is good,” said Pierre Cote.
La Boutique Electronique started out as the second act for hi-fi retailers Scott Phelan and Christopher Porteous. They had established a car stereo business, but sold it as soon as they found that advances in out-of-the-box offerings on cars made their business model obsolete. They launched the Boutique in an old tire store in DDO in 1991.
“Our first year? Nightmare!” Porteous said.
“We got broken into seven times, we were losing $20,000 a month. It was like throwing a giant party now one shows up to.”
The business turned around during the second Christmas the business was open, as word got around the West Island. The business was viable after that.
Porteous denied that big box stores threatened the Boutique’s bottom line, but he did have to battle a stigma that the store was overpriced.
The good news? Some of the store’s former sales staff are migrating to a new business called Resonance AV, which installs customized home theatres for customers.
“When we walk into a client’s house, we look in a room and we look at the issues a client has within that room,” said Justin Cloughesy, the head of the new business.
Cloughesy was a salesman at La Boutique for eight years, and will hire away three people from the store, including Porteous, who will sell equipment on a contract basis.
Cloughesy said trying to go price for price against big box stores “is just a losing battle nowadays.”
The store will likely shut its doors for good in mid-August. Perhaps surprisingly, Porteous said he won’t miss it.
“I’m excited about moving forward, I always have been,” he said. “I’m really excited about moving forward.”
© Shaw Media, 2014