Online merchant Caiman Inc., which acquired the Tower.com, the Tower logo
and the company's intellectual property for $4.2 million in a March auction, has big plans for the brand.
That's the word from Caiman Inc. CEO Didier Pilon, who says he plans to relaunch Tower.com as well as open brick-and-mortar superstores in New York
San Francisco and Los Angeles within nine months. In fact, Pilon has turned
to some experts to help revive the Tower brand: he has hired former Tower purchasing executive George Scarlet as director of entertainment purchasing for the company, as well as former Tower buyer Kevin Hawkins.
The company, which currently buys mainly from one-stops and some independent distributors, hopes to convert to buying direct from all independent distributors and the majors, and where appropriate, the labels themselves, sources suggest.
Earlier in the decade, Caiman had a distribution operation too that went Chapter 11. Pilon says he closed that operation and since has been focusing on its online business.
London-based Caiman employs about 200 people, and operates offices in Montreal and Sacramento and has a 48,000 square-foot warehouse in Miami, says Pilon. Billboard estimates the company's volume at about $150 - $175 million. Tower.com is a good fit for Caiman, which operates its own site at caiman.com. But it also appears to do big business as a participant in the Amazon marketplace. At its peak, Tower.com was generating $25 million in business, but "what I like about it is it still gets 40,000 unique visitors a day," Pilon says.
Since Tower was liquidated, the online store has been operating by a skeleton crew so it has a lot of missing and white pages, but Caiman will fix that. The plan is to launch the cite with brand new technology behind the store and to become the entertainment destination, Pilon says. The store will offer 275,000 CD and DVD titles and some 1.2 million book titles. He also plans to sell vinyl too, and wants to make that one of the sites differentials. "We are best at selling one piece at a time, that's all we know how to do," he says.