Growing up in New York City means a kid spends a lot of time around storefronts and a lot of time on the bus. For Haig Vartivarian, that time was perfect for nurturing an interest in electronics. “I’d walk through all those little mom & pop electronics boutiques and just learn so much,” says the present-day Sixth Avenue Electronics Imaging Buyer who was hooked on all sorts of mobile music players and cameras from his teen years on.
While Vartivarian was in his fourth year of college studying chemistry, he noticed some of his friends were making $80 K or more as salesman, and he decided to take that his old interest to the bank. At age 21, Vartivarian joined P.C. Warehouse in Rochelle Park, NJ, to sell computers. “I became the top salesperson within 6 months…I think it’s because I’m an only child and a Leo!” he laughs. After a successful year, the young Hartivarian was invited by Sixth Avenue’s Rudy Temiz to try his hand selling CE. “At first, I just observed and watched and learned, but by the end of the first year at Sixth Ave., I got ‘most improved salesperson.’ By the second year, I got ‘top salesperson’ in the company.”
Vartivarian has worked his way up through the Sixth Avenue hierarchy, in stints at training and merchandising. In 2002, he became the imaging buyer for the chain, a job he says has become more fascinating as the major electronics companies like Sony and Samsung have intensified their efforts in the category. The 32-year-old buyer says he’s learned to balance the interests of both vendors and his 6th Ave clientele. “Make sure your customers are happy, make sure your company is happy, and then make sure you are happy, in that order,” he says. “Because at the end of the day, it’s the customer who pays your bills.”
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