Lights, Car, Action

Isn't That Specialized?

Most of Jack Panzarella's auto accessories are distributed through installers that sell car stereos. Specialized distributors are an ideal market for inventors, because they make a living from a small market with a limited number of vendors. A new product with sales appeal is most easily sold in this type of distribution channel.

When Panzarella launched his Sport-Neon line, he started with another specialty distribution channel--roller rinks. The distributors were happy to carry and promote Sport-Neon because it added much-needed revenue to their slim product line.

To find specialty distributors:

  • Ask retailers for distributors' names. Specialty market companies usually buy from only two to three distributors.
  • Read trade magazines targeting your prospects. Ads from specialty distributors appear in most issues. For example, car stereo installers get Mobile Electronics (Bobit Publishing, 310-533-2400); roller rink owners get Rinksider Magazine (Target Publishing Co. Inc., 614-235-1022). Find relevant publications by looking in the Gale's Directory of Publications (available in larger libraries). Call the magazines and tell them you're a manufacturer in the business, most will send you a free copy.

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This article was originally published in the February 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Lights, Car, Action.

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