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Installer of the Year Justin Kush brings an artistic background to his custom audio builds, continuing to grow and evolve by learning from those around him.
 
Words by Rosa Sophia
 
After his first time pursuing the Industry Awards, Justin Kush was named Installer of the Year during December’s KnowledgeFest.Live event. Kush specializes in fabrication at Mobile Toys in College Station, Texas, where he’s now one of three team members who’ve earned the illustrious title. “I’m an artist. I draw a lot and I paint. I went to the Art Institute of Seattle and got a degree in 3D Animation,” he said. “The art side of it, the fabrication, the vision has always been there for me. Being able to explain to a customer what I’m seeing and being able to draw a quick sketch helps out a lot.” Kush has also taken the reins when it comes to creating renderings for clients so they can get an idea of what the end result will look like. He added that the things he learned about video editing while in college also helped him in the process of submitting material for the awards. He uses Procreate to give clients an idea of what he can do for them. “It’s the closest thing there is to drawing with real pen and paper,” he said, though the program provides tools that, once mastered, can also help someone who isn’t an artist accomplish their goals. The user’s hand doesn’t need to be perfectly steady, for example. “The program will fine-tune your work. You just need to know the techniques to bring out your vision. It’s like fabricating: You have the strategy. You just need to apply it.”
 
Thirsty for Knowledge
About 15 years ago, Kush began his career working at Circuit City. “I knew nothing,” he said, adding that he...Read the rest of the story HERE.
 
 
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Blind-spot monitoring solutions inform drivers of nearby vehicles, providing life-saving alerts. To enter this category, begin by understanding what’s available—and outfitting a shop vehicle to use for demonstrations.
 
Words by Dave MacKinnon
 
Continuing our deep dive into collision avoidance system brings us to a discussion of blind spot monitoring systems. Before we get into the nitty gritty, it’s worth noting that most consumers don’t know these systems are available as an add-on to their vehicle. As we move through the discussion of the technology, function and installation, think about how you can market these profitable upgrades to your clients.
 
What is a Blind Spot Monitoring System?
 
There are two classes of blind-spot monitoring solutions: camera-based and sensor-based. This article will discuss sensor-based solutions, and we’ll save the camera systems for the next issue. Sensor-based blind spot systems typically use a pair of... [Click Here] to read more.
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In-person training events and trade shows have shifted to online platforms in the wake of COVID-19. Retailers discuss pros and cons of education in a cyber setting, and their hopes for the coming year.
 
Words by Rosa Sophia
 
Due to COVID-19, some decisions regarding meeting with retailers have had to be made on a case-by-case basis, according to Mike Lewis of Echo Sales. The company is a rep firm covering seven states: Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, and North and South Dakota. “Under normal circumstances, our business is set up to call on independent accounts,” Lewis said, adding that they also host trainings to support retailers. This year, he noted the company started to stock more inventory themselves, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise because of all the backorders.
 
According to Lewis, Echo Sales has had to approach their day-to-day business in a hybrid fashion. “A couple of months ago, they removed some local restrictions, but we were still being cautious,” he explained. “We were only visiting accounts with specific needs. I was focusing a lot of my travel around afternoon and evening trainings. Now we are back in more of a hybrid again, not traveling as much, and I’ve put offers out to do Zoom meetings, but most conversations have been on the phone.” There are certain things, he added, that must be done in-person—for example, it’s necessary to visit a new account to see the store. “If we do go somewhere, though, we’re very specific about what we’re doing.”
 
A year ago, the company moved into a new facility with a dedicated in-house training space, but because of COVID-19, only one training has.... Read the rest of the story HERE.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Small-Town Charm

Greg’s Custom Audio, Video & Car Stereo has found its niche by offering something for everyone, with personalized service, multiple 12-volt categories—and even a specialty gift shop.
 
Words by Rosa Sophia
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         From the time he was a teenager, Greg Tackett worked in the electronics business with his father and uncle. The family business persevered as a tire shop, doing mechanical work for 20-plus years. It wasn’t until September of 2007 that Tackett and his wife, Tammy, found a place to rent where they could finally open their own business. Greg’s Custom Audio, Video & Car Stereo welcomed customers for the first time in November of that year in Pikeville, Ky.
 
After years of renting, the business purchased its own building a short distance away from the previous location, opening on the second of January, 2019. This was momentous, Tackett explained, because for eleven years, Greg’s operated out of a single-bay garage that wasn’t even large enough to accommodate a crew-cab truck with the bay door shut. Now, the shop has two full-size climate-controlled bays and plenty of room to expand into additional categories.
 
The building needed a lot of work which is ongoing today. “My wife walked in and said, ‘There’s no way we can do this,’” Tackett recalled. “This was right before Christmas. We had until December 31 to get out of our old place. That day, we got out of our old location at about 10 at night.”
 
Since the community is a small one, Tackett said a lot of people knew the business and the situation, but they also utilized Facebook, Instagram and local radio shows to spread the word. Along with car audio, remote start and accessories, the shop offers truck tires, wheels, powersports, motorcycle and marine audio, as well as home audio and video. As a mom-and-pop retailer, Tackett said all employees chip in when it comes to...Read the rest of the story HERE.
 
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November 5, 2020 - North Andover, Mass. - The Mobile Electronics Association is proud to present interviews and insights with leaders in the Mobile Electronics Industry. Chris Cook, MEA President, will be conducting an interview with Dunja LaRosa & Rick Kojan of SONY. They will share his insights and perspective as it relates SONY and the future of the mobile electronics industry.
 
You don't want to miss this one!
 
Details: Wednesday, December 2 at 2:00 PM Eastern
 
 
Click on a name below to learn more about:
 
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Make it Shine
 
By cultivating brand recognition and providing a boutique experience for clients, Devine Concepts continues to grow year over year as a one-man shop specializing in radar, safety and car audio.
 
Words by Rosa Sophia
 
In Naples, Fla., Devine Concepts celebrated its two-year anniversary this past July. Its owner—Adam Devine—spent most of his career working various positions in big box stores, moving in and out of the install bay for 16 to 17 years, he said, adding that he served in numerous managerial positions. He attended Mobile Dynamics in 2000, and became MECP certified, which he’s continued to maintain throughout his career. “I’m glad I was in all those positions, because it makes me more of a well-rounded business owner now,” he said, adding that each position required him to step outside his comfort zone, which he feels is essential to personal and professional growth. Devine’s parents helped get the business going, he said. “While I was doing a remodel on our location and getting it ready to open, my dad went around to dealerships, barbershops, sandwich shops, mechanics, college campuses, car shows—anywhere with a...Read the rest of the story HERE.
 
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September 23, 2020 - North Andover, Mass. - The Mobile Electronics Association is proud to present interviews and insights with leaders in the Mobile Electronics Industry. Chris Cook, MEA President, will be conducting an interviewed Alex Camara, CEO of AudioControl. He shared his insights and perspective as it relates AudioControl and the future of the mobile electronics industry.
 
If you missed it, no worries. you can watch or listen by clicking on the link below.
 

 

Biography: AudioControl CEO Alex Camara is focused with his team of obsessive audio experts on designing, engineering and manufacturing some of the most innovative high-performance audio solutions for automotive, residential and commerical markets. Alex also works closely with the company’s network of dealers, installers and sales reps, helping create the best experiences across a wide range of projects in over 24 countries worldwide. Alex is a native Londoner and Chelsea football fan who moved to New York and then Seattle over a decade ago. He has always been focused on releasing the potential of entrepreneurial, technology-based companies and is an avid tennis player, foodie, new long distance runner and amateur ‘soul-cyclist’! 

 
 
 
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Third Gear

While picking up speed and continuing to increase revenue, The Car Audio Shop and its team of installers prepares for transition in the coming months.

Words by Rosa Sophia

In St. Louis, Mo., The Car Audio Shop has been going strong since 2012, when Brandon Green opened the doors as a one-man business. Green said his main impetus for starting his own business was based on the fact that he’d observed other shops which he felt were lacking in quality customer service, and decided to step out on his own to focus on defining a higher standard.

The shop now has a staff of five, including Green. “Dan Castro was my first employee and I hired him five years ago,” he said, adding that Castro also handles inventory and ordering for the store. About two years ago, Green partnered with John Schumacher in the business. “John had another shop down in Kansas City,” Green said. “It wasn’t in a great area, and he felt the location wasn’t right for him. We both wanted to expand a bit, so we decided partnering up would be the best option.” Now, they co-own The Car Audio Shop.

The current facility has a separate wood shop and an upholstery area at one end of the building. At the other end is a three-car install bay, along with...Read the rest of the story HERE.

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August 24, 2020 - North Andover, Mass. - The Mobile Electronics Association is proud to present interviews and insights with leaders in the Mobile Electronics Industry. Chris Cook, MEA President, conducted an interview with Mike Anderson, Vice President and GM of Apline Electronics of America. He shared his insights and perspective as it relates Alpine and the future of the mobile electronics industry.
 
If you missed this one, you can now listen via podcast on SoundClould or Apple Podcasts. You can also watch the full presentation on-demand.
 
To listen or watch go to: http://mobile-electronics.com/podcast
 
 
 
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As revenue increases in many shops and facilities, manufacturers respond to meet demands. Here’s how some companies continue to face the pandemic and its impact on mobile electronics retailers.
 
Words by Rosa Sophia
 
In the June issue of Mobile Electronics magazine, retailers shared their experiences during the pandemic and discussed skyrocketing sales. To help minimize the spread of the virus, Alpine Electronics of America instituted a mandatory work from home policy, according to Mike Anderson, the company’s vice president and GM. Alpine wanted to ensure the health and safety of their team members. “This was a huge adjustment for our employees, most of whom had never worked from home,” he said, “but they quickly learned new ways of communication and task management.” Anderson said Alpine faced the same questions as retailers: “Were we an essential business? Were we able to remain open? We closed our warehouse for two days while attorneys gathered enough information to make us.... Read the rest of the story HERE.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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