Would you trust a local dealer to help you put

together a modest system. (think $10k). Let's say you got tired of the whole "system building on my own thing." If you had a good local dealer, would you go take a chance on them and say "I want speakers, an amp and preamp (or integrated) that will sound good in a small to medium size family room." "I already have my sources." What's your take on this?
I don't think Cmalak lives in a dream world at all. My shop is The Analog Shop in Victor NY. The owner (Bob) prefers you to set up an appointment. If you set up an appointment, he blocks out his calendar for you. Once you walk in the door, he locks it behind you. He asks questions to get a feel for what you might be looking for. When he sits you down to listen to something, he basically gives you complete control and walks away for awhile. Zero high pressure sales tactics. You can walk out the door without even talking about buying anything because he realizes the scale of the decision. He's a great relationship builder and he's been in business for a very long time because of the way in which he conducts his business. There's nothing better than a shop that is owned and run by the same person and that person truly loves what they do. Previously I was buying equipment from a store that had 3 salesmen working the floor at the same time. Nothing more annoying to me than being in a listening room with other customers. That's not a good way to listen and it's not a good way to spend your hard earned money. I would find a shop that takes appoinments. If you're spending 10k, that's the least they can do for you and you can do for yourself. It's one less distraction.

From our interactions in the past, I think you are on the right track. You need someone who knows what they are doing and will listen to understand your goals and most importantly is able to listen in your home with you perhaps in order to help advise. I think these are the main things needed to find your optimal solution. I would have a budget (sounds like $10,000) to work with , but try to come in as far under as possible initially.
It depends, there are guys who are knowledgeable and they even let you demo gear before buying. Before going to a shop i have a shortlist of what i want, of course after receiving recommendation from fellow agon'ers.
Foster_9, Where ARE you? Asking for tips on good dealers in your area might be helpful.

And of course, when buying new from a dealer, you're going to pay maybe 2x what the same level of gear would cost when it's even 2-3-4 years old (on average). Early on, I realized I could put together roughly twice the level of system for the same $$ by buying used. (With all of the trade-offs of buying used vs. new of course).

In my area, (metro-Boston area) there are a couple of relatively good dealers, the place on Comm. Ave. in Boston is "pretty good", the place in Natick MA is generally good, but even there the "good" salesmen can have weird lapses of recommending really bad component matching. And a "bad" salesmen or repair guy may "go off on you", w/o warning.

Then there's one of the snootiest "audio salons" on the planet: "goodwins high end" in Waltham MA. Even if I wanted brand new gear they sell, I'd buy it somewhere else.

So in general, I recommend doing your own research, maybe even cutting your budget in half (?), & considering buying used gear from A'gon or elsewhere. (unless you feel totally lost of course, which is natural, if you're just starting out).

Just my own, highly opinionated, 2 cents.....
Buconero....I may live in a dream world but it is exactly what I did 7 years ago when I got into this hobby. I live in Boston and at the time there were 4 local dealers. I followed this exact strategy and the most high end of all the shops in Boston (Goodwins High End comparable to Lyric and any of the NYC shops including Sound by Singer and many others in terms of high end equipment and brands offered minus the attitude)was the one that was most willing to work with me. I have been a loyal customer ever since. I am not saying every dealer will act this way which is why you should feel them out as per my post. Perhaps you did not take the time to read my post but my point was to use this approach to figure out who is willing to work with you and who won't.

One final note Foster 9. If your aim is to bottom fish and get the lowest price, then the dealer network is not the way to go. But if you want to establish a relationship with a local dealer who can provide you with advice and post-sales service, then going with a good local dealer is the way to go. One cannot have it both ways (get excellent service from a brick & mortar dealer) but pay discounted prices you can get from internet dealers who don't care who you are and who don't have overhead to pay. It's one or the other but you can't have both.