Jasper acquires Theater Xtreme assets

JC International, the parent company of accent furniture source Jasper Cabinet, has acquired the intellectual property, trademarks, logos and operational procedures of Theater Xtreme, a chain of home theater design centers that went into liquidation this year as a result of the Circuit City bankruptcy.

Theater Xtreme was partly owned by Circuit City, the consumer electronics chain that filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in late 2008.

Last October, Theater Xtreme had completed a deal to acquire Jasper Cabinet from its owner, Robert Cribbs. But the transaction was put on hold when Circuit City's troubles surfaced.

“I've worked closely with Theater Xtreme's team for many years,” said Cribbs, whose company had supplied the chain with home theater cabinetry. “During the bankruptcy proceedings, we did substantial due diligence and found the company's failure was not due to the business model, which is sound, but a lack of funding to help it reach its full potential. Its investment capital tightened significantly in the final months of operation.”

Before closing, Theater Xtreme operated a chain of 10 franchised and four corporate stores. It specialized in home theater room installations, selling projection-format screens and seating along with items such as cinema columns, risers and crown molding as well as cabinets for flat-panel TVs. The furniture was sold under the Row One brand, which Cribbs will continue to market.

Row One includes 18 SKUs of home entertainment furniture available in a variety of configurations, priced so consumers can create a custom-designed home theater room for under $10,000. Typically, custom home theater rooms cost $25,000 to $50,000 or more, he said.

According to Cribbs, eight of the original franchises are still running, and he hopes to be able to supply them with products similar to what was offered by Theater Xtreme.

“I'm studying the company and the market to determine which direction we'll want to go from here,” he said. “I think the Row One line has great potential, and we'll look to expand its distribution through conventional furniture stores as well as electronics specialists. We showed the Row One line at the October High Point Market and it was very well received. They liked the quality and the pricing.”

A modular setup that can accommodate a 103- to 126-inch screen did particularly well, he added.

Cribbs said he's considering the development of a turnkey furniture and electronics program that would enable furniture retailers to sell consumers an affordable custom home theater without a lot of headaches.

“Many furniture stores are afraid of electronics,” he said. “But with this type of program, we would offer them a menu of solutions that they can easily explain — and sell — to consumers.”

He said that he's in discussions with a nationwide installation firm that would handle the setup and delivery of the electronics, wiring and other custom items.

Cribbs plans to reintroduce the Row One line at the October High Point Market and is considering whether to show at the September Las Vegas Market. He added that he is likely to set up a separate sales rep force for the Row One line.

“Home entertainment continues to be the category that holds the biggest opportunity for furniture stores, and we'll see even more activity as the economy improves,” said Cribbs.

Home & Textiles Today Staff | News & Commentary

 Home Textiles Today is the market-leading brand covering the home and textiles markets, offering a comprehensive package of print and online products. Home & Textiles Today provides industry news, product trends and introductions, exclusive industry research, consumer data, store operations solutions, trade show news and much more.

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