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New Janesville business ready to tee it up

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JAMES P. LEUTE
February 26, 2010
— After 25 years of ownership of Janesville’s leading independent retailer of audio, video and computer equipment, Jim Liebetrau was content to sell Team Electronics.

He sold the business in 2004 to one his salesmen, but retained ownership of the building on Holiday Drive and stayed on to handle outside sales of audio and video equipment.


But an unfavorable combination of a declining economy and the new owner’s management skills put the building back in Liebetrau’s lap, he said.


In December, he opened the building at 1701 Holiday Drive as Home & Pro Electronics. The new store will do the same things Team did, with the exception of car audio. For golfers, the store also sells the P3ProSwing golf simulator and swing analyzer that can be configured into a home theater and video gaming environment.


“I’ve been doing electronics since 1975, and I know how to run the business,” Liebetrau said, adding Home & Pro will continue to service customers of Team Electronics, which has moved to Johnson Street.


“I’m starting from scratch,” Liebetrau said.


While Liebetrau is in the retail business, Home & Pro can’t be confused with big box electronics retailers.


“Sixty percent of our customers won’t even come into the store,” he said, noting a majority of the company’s work is home and commercial installations.


The store doesn’t stock aisles and aisles of electronics.


“Even I get confused when I walk into the big stores,” he said. “We will deal with an individual customer’s needs and stock merchandise in a variety of price points.


“What we do stock would be the equipment I would buy myself at each of the price points. If I wouldn’t buy it, I won’t sell it.”


Liebetrau said he has excellent relationships with his vendors, and he can go beyond his stock to satisfy customers.


“We’ll get the right stuff for people at a fair price and back it up with great customer service,” he said.


Liebetrau said the new venture probably won’t be able to pay his salary for a year. That’s OK, he said, because his conservative style of business ownership paid off in the past.


Liebetrau has tapped two former Team employees, men he hired years ago, to help him run Home & Pro. Doug Edwards will handle computer sales and service, while Rob Ames will be responsible for sales and installations.


Home & Pro is open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. It’s also open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday and Saturday. Appointments also are available.


“We need to have a life away from here, and we also need hours for outside consultations and installations,” Liebetrau said.



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