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WOW! opens in Las Vegas.

LAS VEGAS - Brimming with 110,000 music CDs, 70,000 books and magazines, 200 brand names of 4,000 consumer electronics SKUs, and, in keeping with the locale, the world's largest video slot machine, WOW!, the multimedia megastore jointly operated by Tower Records/Video/Books and The Good Guys!, opened its doors just a mile from the famous Vegas strip.

The 62,000-square-foot, walless structure with a Pasqua coffee-bar snuggled between the two store areas has been designed to encourage mingling, sampling and even loitering.

"The ability for customers to sample music has been at the core of our new Tower stores," said Russ Solomon, founder and president of Tower. "WOW! allows us to do that in exciting ways, to create a synergy with consumer electronics hardware that will make customers want to stay longer, sample more and visit more often."

Indeed, WOW! is offering consumers what may prove to be the first truly successful try-and-buy program to be implemented at the retail level. The Pasqua coffee bar functions as a listening bar where consumers can sample their favorite music CDs on an assortment of stereos, and the personal computer section, with 44 demonstration terminals, also serves as a venue for CD-ROM consumers to sample any of the store's 2,500 CD-ROM titles.

While The Good Guys! and Tower chains have 13 other stores located next to each other throughout California, the WOW! opening marks their first venture under one roof The Good Guys! expects to surpass the success that competitors Circuit City and Best Buy have had selling software alongside appliances, fueled by Tower's far more extensive title selection.

WOW! will have separate staffs from both stores, but will share advertising and work together on in-store promotions.

"WOW! is an experimental store for both Tower and The Good Guys! which we both believe to have tremendous potential and appliability in other markets," said Bob Gunst, president and CEO of The Good Guys!.

Tower has incorporated its success in categorizing videos and music CDs into its software section, said Bob Baird, senior vice president of merchandising and marketing.

Sections like Health and Nature, Tower Top 40, Sound & Vision (for graphics and music software), and Science and Nature have been distinguished outside of the customary reference, lifestyle or home productivity categories found at traditional software channels.

"This is a very viable configuration," said Baird. "We're the first store to establish categories for each section."
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Title Annotation:multimedia megastore
Publication:HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Aug 21, 1995
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