Leading Canadian AV distributor enters U.S. market with best-in-class lighting products brand
2018 HAS BEEN “a very exciting year” for the AVL Media Group and its parent company, Intellimix Corp., says AVL Managing Director Andrew Hope. Now completing construction on a 10,000-square-foot expansion at its headquarters in Montreal, Intellimix recently augmented its workforce and, perhaps most significantly, entered the U.S. market. Established in 2011 as the professional division of Intellimix, AVL focuses on the professional production, integration, and broadcast markets. It’s led by owner/CEO Stephen Kosters and Hope, who has more than 25 years’ experience in professional AV distribution and has been guiding the company’s growth since 2016.
AVL continues to grow and expand its portfolio of globally recognized brands. Its current line card includes such highly respected marks such as GLP, Kling & Freitag, Spotlight, Avolites, Midas, Pliant, Tannoy, Lab Gruppen, Ledman COB, and ROE. “All of AVL’s brands deliver unique technological advantages and exceptional value,” says Hope. “For our customers, that means greater efficiency, increased ROI, and most importantly a better experience and increased ‘wow’ factor for the audience.”
In addition to the uniformly top-drawer brands it represents, AVL distinguishes itself in a competitive global marketplace through exceptional customer service and support. It provides application and design support, knowledgeable and focused regional representation, and “in country” after-sales service and warranty support for all the product lines it represents. It is largely through this support and service, Hope explains, that AVL has been cultivating the trust and loyalty of its customers. “As day-to-day life becomes more and more real-time and communication is ever more immediate and less personal,” he says, “our emphasis on developing and maintaining one to one relationships with all of our customers proves to be of even more value and helps us stand out among many of our competitors.”
Over the past year, AVL has expanded into new market segments such as wireless communications and large-scale LED displays with defining products from technology leaders including Pliant Technologies, Ledman COB, and ROE.
With ongoing success in the Canadian market driving the company to expand, in 2018 AVL took its first steps into the U.S. market as the exclusive North American distributor for the Italian-made Spotlight line of best-in-class LED lighting gear for studio, theatrical, and architectural applications. AVL showcased the brand at the 2017 Live Design International convention in Las Vegas.
Being based in Canada presents both challenges and opportunities. First, Canada covers a huge geographic area with a relatively small population. Two official languages, three-and-a-half time zones, and very different regional cultures make strong local representation critical. According to Hope, AVL is “well positioned across Canada with regional presence, adapting its model to meet regional differences and sensitivities. As a technology importer,” he continues, “the relative stability of the various major currencies has a dynamic influence on the competitive position of products based on country of origin. Our size and financial strength allow us to insulate our customers from short-term pricing instability due to currency fluctuation.”
Kosters and Hope plan to explore additional opportunities for AVL Group in the U.S. market, starting with products of European manufacture that, like Spotlight’s, are still relatively unknown in North America. After having started distributing Spotlight LED lighting products in the U.S. only recently, AVL has enjoyed early success with major clients including ESPN and Disney. “We still have a couple of territories available for American reps,” says Hope, “and we are evaluating other opportunities with various manufacturers as we focus on expanding into the wider North American marketplace.”