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Fidelitone remakes itself

1990s: Fidelitone buys AeroBed


21st century: Some 20,000 packages are shipped daily from Fidelitone Logistics' Wauconda warehouse.


21st century: Men sorting boxes on conveyor belt in the warehouse.


21st century: Cardboard box on conveyor belt.


1920s: Fidelitone develops Diamond needle


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Published: 3/12/2009 12:00 AM

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1929: Fidelitone starts in a Chicago loft making and distributing needles for record players and jukeboxes. Develops Diamond Stylus as a longer-lasting needle with better sound. You can still find them on eBay.

1970s: Vinyl records replaced by audiotape. Fidelitone takes advantage of contacts in the retail world to morph into repair parts distribution from a new warehouse built in Palatine early in the decade, then a larger one in Arlington Heights in 1976. At first the specialization was repair parts for electronics.

1980s: Fidelitone sells the phonograph needle division in 1980. The company pioneers drop shipping, which means parts are sent directly to a customer's home, a service center, a retail store or a manufacturing plant, rather than to a mid-point.

1990s: Fidelitone builds Wauconda headquarters and warehouse in 1991 and eventually expands to 265,000 square feet. In 1994, Sears designates Fidelitone Logistics as a Master Source, and the company adds 350 more product and parts lines for that Hoffman Estates-based retailer. In 1997, buys Aero Products International and sells it again in 2000. Joins with Black & Decker/DeWalt, purchases their parts inventory and sets up 102,000-square-foot distribution facility for that company in Maryland.

21st century: In 2001, adds more Sears parts in 2001. That same year establishes National Parts to help Best Buy obtain, manage and ship parts. Fidelitone also starts working with Direct Marketing Services Inc. Currently an estimated 20,000 or more shipments leave Fidelitone's Wauconda warehouse every day.

Source: Fidelitone