The Mobile Electronics Retailers Association (MERA), which represents more than 1,000 U.S. mobile electronic dealers, recently acquired In Car Experts (ICE), a firm specializing in providing marketing infrastructure and strategic product acquisition services to retailers in the in-vehicle technology sector.
The acquisition will broaden MERA’s capabilities to provide resources to its members and strengthen the association’s brand within the mobile electronics community, according to North Andover, Mass.-based MERA. Swedesboro, N.J.-based ICE will maintain its current operation under the guidance of Jason Denton and Cory Mayo, who have managed the operations of the firm for the past few years. Robert Elliott, ICE founder and current executive director, has accepted a new position on the MERA board of directors.
“We anticipate that nothing will change for current ICE members and vendor partners during this ownership transition and for the foreseeable future,” said Chris Cook, president of MERA. “Jason and Cory are accomplished professionals who have met the needs of the membership and are partners in every respect. Our position will be to support them in every way with MERA’s applicable resources and to help to introduce new products and programs that fit the group.”
ICE members will automatically become members of MERA as a condition of the acquisition, according to the association. MERA plans to develop a program that coaches its members to meet the requirements of ICE membership.
“We have already identified a number of MERA-member businesses we feel are ideal candidates to become part of ICE,” Cook said. “The goal is not to lower the requirements for ICE membership, but rather to build a path by which retailers can raise their performance to a level that makes them eligible.”
Elliott, a former mobile electronics retailer, founded ICE in 2006. The firm used images of wolves in its initial marketing campaigns to represent the “pack mentality” it felt retailers needed to take to maintain and grow market share and viability in an ever more competitive consumer space, according to MERA. The firm offers a variety of programs to develop competitive pricing and marketing advantages for its members.
“ICE was started to provide retailers with proven, enhanced marketing and vendor programs that are only available to retailers when functioning as part of a larger group,” Elliott said. “Over the past eight years, our members have benefitted from better product pricing, marketing support and a close-knit network of successful entrepreneurs sharing best practices. MERA’s acquisition ensures that these benefits will not only continue, but will be expanded and enriched with more resources and new leadership.”