Warren Chaiken, President & CEO of Almo Corp., reveals what’s next for AF Lighting and its customers
Just at the time that AF Lighting’s parent company, Interline Brands – a national distributor and direct marketer of broad-line maintenance, repair, and operations products headquartered in Florida – was looking to sharpen its focus on its core competencies and divest itself of any brands that didn’t quite align with that goal – family-owned Almo Corp., a national distributor of major and luxury appliances, consumer and professional electronics products – was keeping an eye out for opportunities that could broaden its business.
“Lighting was a small part of Interline’s business. We’re in the housewares business already,” Chaiken explains. “While we had similar customers, [this acquisition] will bring us new customers. Plus we both [had experience] selling online to some degree. While Almo has a broader portfolio, AF Lighting is going to bring in customers that we never sold to in the past. This was a real win-win situation.”
The deal closed on March 6 and any phone calls placed to AF Lighting’s offices in Florida will be routed to Almo’s headquarters in Philadelphia. “As of today, we’re in business selling the AF Lighting brands, which includes the Candice Olson line as well as the Horizon and Elements series.”
Chaiken, the third generation of his family to take the helm at Almo, is looking forward to evolving the AF Lighting brand. “We’re looking at this as a blank canvas. We have some great partners already in place at the retail and the manufacturing side and it’s a matter of [delivering] the right product for them.” Almo operates more than 1 million square feet of distribution space in strategically located warehouses throughout the country.
“We’re excited about the opportunities to tap into different channels of distribution, and so is Candice Olsen and her team. Right now it’s time to take a quick breath and begin getting [organized],” Chaiken notes, adding that “We don’t have any pre-conceived notions” regarding the AF Lighting brand. “We’ll figure what’s best for our customers. We want to do whatever we can to make sure our customers are successful.”
Almo Corp. is a family-owned business that employs 400 full-time workers, several of whom have multi-generations of their family working at Almo. “My mom and dad are still in the business, along with my brother-in-law,” Chaiken recounts. “Our employees work hard; the people you work with are your second family and we try to make it enjoyable and let them know that we care about them.” That same type of relationship-building is what Chaiken hopes to engender with AF Lighting’s customers.
As of press time, the phone numbers for AF Lighting will remain the same; however, the address will be changed to Almo’s corporate address: 2709 Commerce Way, Philadelphia, PA 19154.