"Networking, networking, networking," said Dave Gilbert when asked how he finds people to work with. “Just like real estate, location, location, location.”
Gilbert, the Senior Vice President of Hi-Fi Sales in Cherry Hill, New Jersey has spent his career networking with a group often overlooked in the home technology space: interior designers.
In 1997 Gilbert tagged along to a friend’s meeting for the International Furnishings and Design Association where he was surprised to find himself in high-demand.
Many designers expressed interest in working alongside an integrator who would restrain from dictating how a design should work in order to accommodate audio and video into a space.
They asked if he would be willing to work with them and he said, "As long as it doesn’t compromise the project, absolutely."
Gilbert has spent the rest of his career capitalizing on the desire of integrators and interior designers to work together in harmony. He started going to design meetings, eventually becoming a member of the International Furnishings and Design Association. He’s currently on the Board of Directors for the Philadelphia Chapter and he served as the group’s national president in 2002.
His symbiotic relationship with interior designers is especially impressive in today’s market where there is an abundance of new technology for interior designers to work around. Hi-Fi Sales is no exception to this rule. Once audio-centric, the store now sells almost everything in the realm of home technology.
“We are basically everything low-voltage except alarm,” said Gilbert. “Really huge lately is networking, shading and lighting. Three things that I never thought I’d be selling when I started doing this in 1982.”
Embracing new technology hasn’t seemed to hurt Gilbert or Hi-Fi Sales. In fact, according to Gilbert, it’s made working with designers easier.
“As we started working more with interior designers and as technology started becoming a larger part of day to day living, they really warmed up to us because we took away the technophobia that they had and completely managed it for them and their clients,” said Gilbert.