BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU® NEWS RELEASE
Thomas Johnson Director of Public and Board Relations,
Better Business Bureau Serving Chicago & Northern Illinois,
Bob Abt Honored by the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois
Abt Electronics Patriarch Recognized Posthumously with a Lifetime Achievement Award
Glenview, Ill. – Bob Abt, the patriarch of the Abt family known for the family owned and operated retail company, Abt Electronics in Glenview, Ill. was selected by the Executive Committee of the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois Board of Directors to posthumously receive the James E. Baumhart Lifetime Achievement Award.
The award was presented at the 90th Annual Dinner Meeting at the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile, 541 North Rush Street, Chicago.
The James E. Baumhart Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes a business person who has made an outstanding lifetime contribution in support of the Better Business Bureau’s mission of holding businesses accountable to their customers and being a business that consumers can trust.
Bob Abt’s father, Dave Abt started Abt Electronics in a small store-front location in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood in 1936 with an $800 loan from Dave’s wife, Jewel. Bob began working at Abt in 1953 and was responsible for growing Abt into the awarding-winning company it is today. As the business grew, Abt changed locations several times and eventually settled in Glenview, Ill. The company now boasts a 120,000-square foot showroom as part of a 350,000 square foot facility on 37 acres with 1,400 employees. Bob is credited with coming up with Abt’s tag line that sums up the company’s commitment to customer service; “Pleasing People… Since 1936.” Bob passed away in 2015 after a long battle with cancer, but his presence and vision are still felt every day at the retail location where his four sons, Mike, Ricky, Jon, and Billy, share the title of co-president.
Bob Abt so believed in the Better Business Bureau’s mission he became deeply involved with the organization. “Bob Abt’s long history of involvement and active participation on the Board of the Better Business Bureau has significantly contributed to the success of the Better Business Bureau and makes him a truly worth recipient,” said Steve Bernas, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Chicago & Northern Illinois. "I truly believe he raised the bar for everyone else to follow; an example of trustworthy, ethical companies that do it right," Bernas said. "He's a great example of what others should be doing."
Crane Kenny, President of Business Operations for the Chicago Cubs was the keynote speaker for the evening that consisted of an audience of nearly 800 people. Mike Abt, Bob’s oldest son, represented the Abt family at the awards dinner. “It was quite a privilege and honor to be there to accept the award and to hear all the accolades for my dad,” Mike said. “He dedicated his life to running Abt Electronics first and foremost as an ethical business where customer service always came first.”
Bob Abt was beloved by Abt’s employees for being a compassionate, hands-on boss, but he was just as popular with our customers who knew Bob by his seemingly constant presence at the store. “Dad loved walking the showroom floor,” says Jon Abt. “He worked long hours and was very hands on right up until the end. He mentored many employees and was very popular with customers.”
“Dad set the bar high,” says Mike Abt. “We work every day to maintain the high standards of customer service and the forward-thinking business model that dad established and Abt is known for.”
About Abt Electronics: Founded in 1936 when Jewel Abt loaned her husband, Dave $800 to open a small electronics store in the Logan Square neighborhood in Chicago, Abt has grown to become the largest independent, single-store retailer of electronics and appliances in the country. This third-generation family-run business (now run by Dave & Jewel’s four grandchildren, Mike, Ricky, Jon, and Billy who share the title of co-president) is known for its award-winning customer service from its team of 1,400 expert staff. Its Glenview, Illinois-based location boasts a 120,000 square-foot showroom on 37 acres. The entire facility including its newly expanded state-of-the-art warehouse totals 350,000 sq. ft. The company has been recognized by the Chicago Tribune as one of the Top Large Workplaces in Chicago for six consecutive years, taking the #1 position in 2016, 2012, and 2011. Abt has become an influencer on a national scale thanks to its thriving ecommerce website where customers can receive advice and customer support through the site's live chat feature, email and toll-free phone number. Abt is known for being an eco-friendly business and has an award-winning green program that includes diesel trucks, windmills, solar panels and a generator that provides electricity for nine hours of the day. Abt also has an on-premises, 12,000 square-foot recycling center that takes in over 8,500 tons of waste per year including 95% of the company’s own waste. In the center of the showroom is a beautiful an atrium where customers gain access to its many boutique stores-within-a-store such as The Apple Boutique and the Connect Computer Store. Abt is known for its weekend treats providing free, fresh baked chocolate chip cookies and coffee for its customers every Saturday and Sunday afternoon. For more information, visit www.Abt.com.
About Better Business Bureau: For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. Consumers and businesses can search business reviews and ratings on more than 5.3 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. The Council of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for the local, independent BBBs in the United States, Canada and Mexico, as well as home to its national programs on dispute resolution, advertising review, and industry self-regulation.