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?
Your perspective is valuable. But, I'm not sure every dealer will go out of his/her way to accomodate a customer who wants a product the dealer doesn't carry. It basically means sending the customer to a competitor, no matter how friendly. (You may have those kinds of positive relationships). I was under the impression, at least for some product lines that are territorially exclusive, that you (and the providing dealer) could get into trouble by effectively retailing a brand, if it is exclusive, that you don't carry. My knowledge on this may be obsolete, I am certainly not looking for an argument either. I just figured a guy comes in, says I want 10 grand worth of stuff, and if you sell Rega and not Avid, you are going to sell him a Rega. (I have little experience with either brand, so I'm just using those as examples).
Best, and keep the faith. As I mentioned in an earlier post, using a top flight dealer is worth every penny in terms of service and support. There are few bargains in life, and hi-fi is rarely one of them in the long run.
Steveaudio...sorry just read your response (been away from Agon for a bit). That is very surprising. I started dealing with them 7 years ago, so it may be that the personnel have changed over and the proprietor, Alan Goodwin, has placed a priority on customer service. If you ever decide to give them another chance, ask for Paul Chambers (store manager) or Al Moulton, and if you wish you can mention my name, and I can guarantee you that their response will be very different. In any case, we are getting off topic for the OP. Hope all is well.
A lot of good points being made here. I am in line with Whart and Burt in terms of the value that I ascribe to a good "dealer." I think Burt's description of what a good dealer does for a customer is ideally true and as with all things, whether you receive this type of service/knowledge/expertise/support etc... depends on the actual dealer's experience and motivations. As with all things, there is a wide spectrum. Which is why I believe doing your due diligence as I outlined in my rather lengthy initial post will allow you to weed out the bad from the good dealers and to establish a relationship with those who have your interest at heart because as Burt suggests, a happy customer is a profitable customer and a sticky customer. No happy customers = no business.

You will learn a lot about what you are looking for, what aspects of audio reproduction are important to you that will lead you to emotionally connect with the music, and this will give you the knowledge to go down the audiophile path/journey with confidence and you will likely end up with a system that suits you just fine. And by the way, even after you purchase your $10K system, if you establish a good relationship with a local dealer, you will likely continue to audition new pieces of equipment and you may find that your tastes/priorities change over time. But you will only get that exposure once you establish a relationship with a dealer who will accomodate you to audition new equipment at their store or in your system and the journey will continue on.

Most importantly, just have fun and enjoy it all. That's what this hobby is all about after all. Once again, good luck and I hope once you get to the point where you have put together your first system, let us know how it all worked out :-)
Whart -

I guess it depends on the product but a reputable dealer, who is not going to discount or throw something up for sale on the Internet (selling out of territory), should be able to secure a product or put the customer in touch with a reputable dealer. Serving the client must always be the focus.

Years ago we had P.A.R.A. (Professional Audio Retailers Association). It allowed professional dealers to meet one another in a friendly atmosphere to work together to strategize on numerous topics, solve system problems and, ultimately, to form lasting friendships. I had no problem referring clients to a friend in the business if they had a product my client required to achieve optimum results. It was a win-win-win: Client's needs were met, Customer was pleased with my guidance, and that dealer would reciprocate if one of his clients needed something that I had.

A great system will stand the test of time, provide years of enjoyment, and could then be passed on to one's children. Case in point is a piece such as the Nagra 300i - built from the ground up around the 300 tube. It's won numerous design, engineering, and best of show awards and maybe 20 have been manufactured and circulated worldwide. In fact, we have 1 of only 3 that ever made it into the USA.

Nagra is a great example for another reason - I choose my lines based on my ear and experience - not by magazine reviews or manufacturer advertising budget. I think we are one of only 3 Penaudio dealers but in the months to come everyone will become more familiar with Penaudio. Same was true for Berkeley before all of the reviews had hit...and Modwright who we've been with since day 1.

Chances are that the next great thing in audio will come from a smaller independent company such as a Berkeley...or a Wavelength (who gave the world Asychronous technology?)...or a Modwright. I spend thousands of dollars every year to walk CES and find those breakout products long before the audio press is able to publish reviews. This is another service that dealers provide - to let customers know what is coming so that they can advise them properly. I've saved customers hundreds of thousands of dollars by preventing them from buying technology that was soon to be obsolete.

I can keep going on and on about the services a professional dealer can provide but it sounds like you have a good understanding. As I mentioned in my original comment - not all dealers are cut from the same cloth but customer oriented dealerships, such as mine, do exist.

Burt - Seattle Hi-Fi