Openning a hi fi shop

What would be your business model if you were to start a new business a hi fi business. What lines and why...

Good esoteric hiend boutique (back yard) brands that the big boy retailers can’t order in 10-20 lots and then undercut you and send you to the wall.

Cheers George
Start with entry-level models (from well known brands). Also, you might offer speaker kits (DIY) and possibly offer facilities and assistance with assembly. Start small and grow...
I would start a church, and make the hi fi shop part of the salvation plan.

I'd be rich.
First off most established brands would not touch you unless they do not have a dealer in your area.  You cannot just buy one or two pieces of their product line you have to make an initial investment.  You should have systems at different price points

You cannot copy John Rutan as he has protected Vandersteen territory which you won't be able to get.

There are so many companies out their today that would have an interest but nothing is free!

Happy Dealershipping!. 
I would need to come from a more affluent family before ever considering starting a hi-fi shop.
Come up with your own products. Sell to your local area and on line. Start searching for products you can put your own trademark on. Offer customers a service level they can’t get elsewhere, can’t get online. Offer upgrade materials. But don’t break peoples’ ass to buy it; make it attractive price-wise. I can think of many products and services.
If Agon had a "like" button, I would "like" what erik_squires and dweller said. Hence, ditto.
how to end up with a small fortune

start with a big fortune, open a hifi shop
I would not actually sell any gear. At least that would not be the major scope of my business. It would be some kind of high-end rental service or pawn shop inspired by sharing economy. I would offer short and longterm rentals and leasing. The client would pay reseller's price of the gear (let’s say 1000$). He would keep the device for a month. Then he gets back to my store with the machine and I give him back 900$. As an audiophile, I’m ready to pay 100$ to test in my system some expensive gear (before I buy it from the manufacturer or from the reseller). I would not care about esthetic aspect of that machine, I would not care how old it is, it may even have some issues. I’m ready to pay even more just to live for a month or so, with some piece of gear which othervise would not be my first choice.
First off, I would allow drunk people to rent out the showroom on weekends. I would also run a "hardware as a service" model where the customer doesn't actually own any of the gear but for a monthly subscription price they can swap out gear upon request. I do all installations and networking. Customers are charged for each service call. Different subscription tiers give you access to higher-end gear. Lowest tier is $100/mo., highest is $500. At the highest tier, for $6,000, you can enjoy a six-figure system in your house for an entire year, and then change it out next year if you want. You never have to pay for repairs and you're not tied into any piece of gear. You get to listen to everything hi-fi has to offer in your own home for as long as you want. Any gear I own that's more than 5 years old gets auctioned off. I would need about 50 customers at different service levels to make a decent living. But I'd be busy af.  
Been there, done that.

First, you need $250,000 (MINIMUM!!!) in cash or credit plus another $50,000 CASH in first-year running costs (advertising, online presence, etc.).

Get that, and then start planning WHERE you will go.  High-end audio does not sell in Gulfport, MI or Clarksburg, WV.  Nice towns, but people there do not buy many $100,000 systems.  

Once you have a place, make sure there are not other stores around as the better manufacturers do not sell to several stores within the same general area.

Once you have all that and a good business plan, you have to build out the location.  Visit other high-end stores that have been around a while and you will see how to build out your space--2500 sq ft MINIMUM is required in a high-traffic area.  You can be a "destination" store in Austin, but not in every town, so heavy traffic is needed.

If you go into a "center" you have to pay rent, overage (check with a business person to understand that little "gotcha" and maintenance, which goes up every year.  PLUS, centers are not as popular as they used to be.  Free-standing is nice, but expensive.

Finally, and there are a million steps in between the last one and this one, you need to find a local repair shop or one that is actually reliable.  It ALL breaks eventually, and high-end customers are NOT patient when their $20,000 amp breaks and they want it fixed NOW!  Loaners are often required, which means more up-front capital.

Tough business--make sure you know what you are doing before you do it, but good luck!  I loved my shop and learned SO MUCH.  One nice thing is that you have time to LISTEN to all the stuff and figure out what is REALLY the best and what is just hype...

The question you are asking really needs to be turned around and looked at from the perspective of what type of customers are you trying to serve. If you are starting a store in Redmond and catering to Microsoft millionaires you might want to focus on ultra high end gear. If you have a store in a college town you would want products that students could afford.

It would be a fun exercise to research this. Every month I hear of a new brand of speakers or electronics that are being introduced into the US market and all of these companies are looking for distributors and dealers.

An example of an interesting line that is not well represented here is Tsakiridis from Greece. I saw this stuff at the 2018 AXPONA and was really impressed by the sound and workmanship. The prices were very reasonable.

The store I deal with in Gig Harbor took on Line Magnetic gear which was a surprise to me because I had considered it the type of thing you ordered from China. However, this gear is stunning to look at and seeing it in person was a revelation. I'm sure that there are a lot of people who would never consider that brand unless they saw and heard it in person.

Curating the gear for a particular store would be a complex challenge.

I started a Hifi Shop back in 1986, as a Student with £10K, my business partner had £10K and off we went - highly specialised niche market to begin with £300 system, and a £1000 system. Aimed at non-audiophiles, and we installed everything for free in their homes. We lost money for the first year, but gained a great reputation. The shop was memorably named "The Cornflake Shop" and it's still going strong...though moved from hifi to Custom install and Home Cinema. 
Above all else what you need is customers, and you have to work out what you can do that special in your area that is going to connect you to these people.
Start specialist - really be ultra specialist rather than generalist, then you establish a very clear brand, and following for your individual talents. Its a people thing. 
But to sell Hifi means comparisons, and you do need some money to have the right stock. Hard work for years, but such good years ! Good luck ! (It is a bit of a religion I have to say I liked erik's idea..)
Retail and dealing with the public is a hard business. As per what was mentioned above it requires a ton of planning and a lot of money. There is a lot of risk too. I look a all business adventures in terms of what is my annual rate of return going to be and what risks do I encounter in trying to achieve that return. Then, (this is important), how does this rate of return and risk compare to other things that I can do with my money. There are always alternatives. Maybe you can make a better return with similar or less risk doing something else with your money and your time than opening a hifi shop. Plus here is a great quote from one of my former business managers: “Business would be great, if it weren’t for the people”. Please be careful. 
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Tvad  I don't think so but I think it is interesting to hear what people think would be a good plan. 

ebm: bringing large brands into the store like Magico requires a ton of money, they want you to commit big time because they advertise and while you may think they sound great customers must also agree with that and of course if there are other hi fi shops that have the well advertised brands and people listen there they might think that brand X sounds better then your brands. 

georgehifi. has that model worked for you. I think you have a shop but I don't know the name and location.

chris_adair  I love what you did...when I started sell for a retailer in the 70's ( oh my god am I that old ) we had a full system for $300 with a turntable cartridge receiver and speakers and they went up in $100 increments for people that wanted a whole system. 

eric. I think it would be helpful to open in a church since you would spend most of your time praying for business.. 

rich-opp yes you do have to taylor your shop to your community for sure or you are done for. Probably done for anyway..

"Relax. Alright. My old man is a television repairman. He has an ultimate set of tools. I can fix it." Not sure that has anything to do with this discussion, but isn't that just awesome! It is just great all by itself.
I will sell only for Bezos, Gates and the one hundred others, if you sell to one you will attract the others like a magnet..... I will begin for first customer with the 50 th in the hundred most rich men list on the planet....

I will sell him amplifier and dac and speakers with no branded name only numbered one to 100 with the customer name inscribed with the limited number.... After the first one, the most difficult task is the first customer, the others will go like lemmings...

I will take a low cost Chinese wizard of Hi-FI to create them with spectacular design (very important) and with good sound.....10,000 dollars max for each component....

I will sell 100,000 dollars each component, with 3 components at least for each customer, X by 100, it is 300 electronic components... Then i will accumulate 30 millions dollars in possible selling, minus 9 million in cost and divide by 2, one part for me, one part for the Chinese designer....Possibly 11 millions and dust for me....


Is there a chinese designer by chance reading this forum?

How do you make a small fortune selling audio equipment? 
1: Start with a large fortune. 
A bar and coffee shop with an attached hi-fi store. A nice stereo system playing in the bar/coffee shop to attract mid-fi customers from the unwashed masses.  . 
Buy a white van and sell cheap overseas equipment out of the back  of it in parking lots.
+ 1 for the idea by russ69.

I'd start with selling used gear, which would keep your initial investment much lower. Plus, your ever changing stock of reasonably priced equipment would keep the bargain hunters coming back to support the bar and/or coffee shop. 

Selling anything is hard; but, selling something you believe in should make it easier. People are probably more sophisticated these days, so I might try to feature or specialize in some equipment and speakers that are both visually appealing as well as having quality sound. I'd certainly like to hang out in a place like that.
are you a Russian asset? I mean the very idea of getting people loaded and then selling them gear which they will quickly become dissatisfied with...." I need more bass " seems a little capitalistic to me, a socialist. I am open to having a few before I listen however. A few more while I listen and a few more, just to help me " process " what I just listened to...

Start with lower end gear. Look for value items. Design 2 or three speaker kits. Hold classes on kit building, soldering and making your own cables, and listening. Climb the ladder to high end systems down the line. 
Settle in a sales tax free state. 
You have pointed out a big issue/problem in the  business and that is the unwashed masses. If the scamdemic doesn't get them the collapse of the world economy should.....