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Victory for the Aftermarket
 
Question 1 "Right to Repair" wirelessly that was on the Massachusetts ballot passed by a 3 to 1 margin. Massachusetts became the battleground again for automakers versus independent repair shops and the associations representing them, to require automakers to make available the vehicle data sent wireless (telematics) for all vehicles sold after 2022.
The original Massachusetts Right to Repair act passed in 2012 requiring automobile manufacturers to provide the necessary documents and information to allow anyone to repair their own vehicle. While not passed at the federal level, the major automobile trade organizations signed a memorandum to agree to abide by Massachusetts' law in all fifty states starting in the 2018 automotive year. This action will be an amendment to the existing 2012 law. If this amendment is also adapted to the existing agreement covering all 50 states, this could be a game changer for the mobile electronics industry allowing universal access to the vehicle bus, something the aftermarket industry has been desiring for decades.
 
Although independent repair shops could still diagnose vehicle problems through the OBDII port, automakers had an unfair advantage of doing so wirelessly with vehicles having connected services. They could receive maintenance alerts and contact vehicle owners for service in advance. In some cases, they may even be able to make repairs by resetting error codes or updating software over the air. These same Telematics services enable automakers to offer vehicle owners APPs that will allow them to identify vehicle diagnostic information as well as receive alerts related to low battery voltage or vehicle movement. A signal is required to be sent to the vehicle to run the diagnostic test. This type of control is leveraged to lock and unlock doors and, in some cases, remotely start the vehicle.
 
This new legislation could be significant to the aftermarket mobile electronics industry. Just as mobile electronics manufacturers have been able to innovate new products connecting to OBDII port, now aftermarket devices and/or APPs can be developed to enhance or enable many vehicle owners’ features. For example, a future keyless entry and remote start add-on may simply be done by downloading an APP setup by the vehicle owner with proper vehicle access credentials. No doubt, aftermarket devices requiring installation will be designed to take advantage of this universal connected service. As Massachusetts based companies, both InstallerNet and the Mobile Electronics Association collaborated with the Auto Care Association to provide testimonials early this year at a hearing held by the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection of Massachusetts Legislature regarding Massachusetts Vehicle Data Access Legislation. That hearing was the first step in the state’s consideration of the data access legislation that has now become law in Massachusetts. The new law amends the state’s existing Right to Repair law —thus ensuring consumers continued choice in vehicle repair.
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.
 

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.
 
July 9, 2020 - North Andover, Mass. - The Mobile Electronics Association is proud to present industry interviews and insights. Chris Cook, MEA President, will conduct regular interviews with Mobile Electronics Industry leaders. Our first interview is with Aron Demers from VOXX Electronics where we will discuss the recent acquisition of Directed. Aron will share his insights on the company’s motivation and future plans as a result of the acquisition. Aron will also give his perspective as it relates to the future of the mobile electronics industry including the retailer and expeditor channels
 
Details: Friday, July 10 at 12:00 PM Eastern
 
 
 
 
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:
 
August 17, 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 Mike Anderson, Vice President and GM of Apline Electronics of America. He will share his insights and perspective as it relates Alpine and the future of the mobile electronics industry.
 
You don't want to miss this one!
 
Details: Friday, August 21 at 12:00 PM Eastern
 
 
 
 
August 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 regular interviews with Mobile Electronics Industry leaders. Our next interview is with Mike Roberts of Kenwood. He will share his insights and perspective as it relates Kenwood and the future of the mobile electronics industry.
You don't want to miss this one!
 
Details: Friday, August 7 at 12:00 PM Eastern
 
 
 
 
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’! 

 
 
 
August 11, 2020 - North Andover, Mass. - The Mobile Electronics Association is proud to present interviews and insights with leaders in the Mobile Electronics Industry. Listen to the recent show with Chris Cook, MEA President, conducting interview an interview is with Mike Roberts of Kenwood. Listen as Mike shares his insights and perspective as it relates Kenwood and the future of the mobile electronics industry.
You don't want to miss this one!
 
 
 
 
July 14, 2020 - North Andover, Mass. - The Mobile Electronics Association is proud to present industry interviews and insights. Chris Cook, MEA President, conducted an interview with Aron Demers from VOXX Electronics where we discussed the recent acquisition of Directed. Aron also shared his insights on the company’s motivation and future plans as a result of the acquisition. Aron provided his perspective as it relates to the future of the mobile electronics industry including the retailer and expeditor channels. [Click to Listen] to the interview conducted on Friday, July 10.
 
 
 
Brick by Brick
 
By continuing to build upon a solid foundation, Empress Audio & Marine demonstrates that a business with a reliable structure can persevere and thrive in the face of difficult times.
 
Words by Rosa Sophia
 
For almost 46 years, Empress Audio & Marine in Pascagoula, Miss. has been offering 12-volt products and services. Prior to that, owner Floyd Seal installed vinyl roofs in vehicles—but the mobile electronics industry soon became his focus when he was offered work installing car radios. “As things progressed, my business went into retail and we basically became an audio store. Now we’re 90 percent retail and about 10 percent expeditor work,” he said, adding, “We’ve been in car audio since 1975.”
 
Today, the 21-employee business has three locations including the main Pascagoula store—one in Gulfport, and one in Mobile, Ala. which opened in September 2018. The main location has about 7,000 square feet, and the smallest store offers 5,000, with all locations having plenty of space for sizable bays and a showroom.

Each store covers a wide variety of categories, including car audio, marine audio and powersports, window tint, motorcycles and lighting. The marine side has...Read the rest of the story HERE.

Despite a global crisis, KarTele Mobile Electronics has entered its most profitable quarter of the year, and looks forward to expanding into additional categories to better serve the community.
 
Words by Rosa Sophia
 
While Mike Hungerford has been a co-owner of KarTele Mobile Electronics in Waterbury, Conn. for three years as of April first, he’s been in the industry for close to 20 years. Of store ownership, he said, “It’s been a learning curve.”
 
KarTele originally opened in 1994 as a cell phone store, and later switched to 12-volt. For the past year, Hungerford ran a different sale each month to celebrate the shop’s 25 years in business and included a free USB cable with any Android Auto or Apple CarPlay compatible unit. Anniversary sales focused on...Read the rest of the story HERE.
Limitless Pursuit

Having built a solid foundation, LIS Audio is working toward eventually expanding into a second facility and adding additional categories to an already growing list of services.
 
Words by Rosa Sophia
 
In Spring Hill, Kan., LIS Audio—Limitless Innovative Solutions—continues to do business during the spread of COVID-19. The store is owned by business partners Justice Berry and Cameron Powell, who stated the shop is able to remain open because they provide essential services in the form of GPS trackers and ignition interlocks. Open since December 2016, the shop works on everything from custom audio builds to safety, and has extensive plans in place for expansion.
“We’ve had about a 30 percent increase in both clientele and profits, each year,” Powell said. “We’ve both been consistently growing our...Read the rest of the story HERE.
 
Risk and Reward
 
After evolving from a one-man business into a full-fledged 12-volt team, Sonic Sound continues to work toward expansion while taking calculated risks to increase revenue.
 
Words by Rosa Sophia
 
In the spring of 2000, Kevin Juarez opened a one-man business in Arlington, Va. At first, he said, Sonic Sound had no bays and installation took place outside the store. He also did some mobile work for local dealerships. After a year, the shop moved to another location with a single bay, and Juarez hired staff—a window tinter as well as a full-time employee who worked in both sales and installs. Then, in 2008, Sonic Sound finally found its current location, which has a two-bay garage that can fit four vehicles, and about 4,000 square feet of space. The location is on a main road with plenty of drive-by and foot traffic. “That’s where I am now,” Juarez said. “It hasn’t been easy, but now I can see the fruit of all the hard work.”
 
Currently, like many other shops, business is booming. Projects consist mainly of window tint and car audio. “We are booked about three weeks out,” he added, noting that the shop is still growing and adding categories and services. For the most part, though, the team doesn’t handle much custom work. Juarez said he prefers jobs that can be completed in one day. “The most custom we do might be speaker plates,” he explained. “For example, a Jeep might come in for four speakers, an amplifier, a head unit and a backup camera. We get the Jeep in the morning and...Read the rest of the story HERE.
The Evolution of Industry Training
 
As training evolves due to ever-changing product technology, the COVID-19 pandemic makes its own impact on how industry professionals stay educated. Here’s how businesses are adjusting by shifting perspective.
 
Words by Rosa Sophia
 
At the tail end of this past year, things had yet to change. Before the Coronavirus pandemic, this feature was intended to look at how training has evolved and how more isolated businesses gain access to education if they can’t make it to a distributor show or an event like KnowledgeFest. When the global pandemic began, Mobile Electronics magazine and MEA shifted focus to offer resources to the industry. While MEA has offered weekly webinars, as well as manager and owner roundtable discussions online, manufacturers have also shifted perspective to bring online education to retailers everywhere.
 
The Changing Landscape of Training
Jeff Cantrell of Jackson Car Audio in Jackson, Tenn. recalled...Read the rest of the story [HERE].

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.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
While businesses have struggled throughout the pandemic, many are now thriving as some areas begin to reopen. Retailers discuss this boom in sales, and how long it might continue.
 
Words by Rosa Sophia
 
During the spread of Coronavirus, businesses continue taking precautions to protect staff and clients. Local response varies across the nation. Out of 75 retailers surveyed recently by Mobile Electronics magazine, 53 percent (40 businesses) have said they remained open despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Twenty percent closed but recently reopened, while a small percentage of businesses—about 15 percent—remain closed as of this writing.
 
Mitch Schaffer of Mobile Edge in Lehighton, Pa. said his business was shut down for a little over two months because Pennsylvania closed all non-essential businesses. “We may have been able to justify staying open because we did Intoxalock installations, but it made more sense to shut down just for the safety of our employees,” Schaffer said, adding that acquiring financial funding through small business programs was a bit of a challenge. “For those of us who had to shut down, that money was a real lifeline.” During the second round of funding, Schaffer said Mobile Edge received financial help to alleviate the burden. The store reopened on May 22.
During the shutdown, Schaffer said.... Read the rest of the story HERE.
 
Strategy & Tactics for March 2020 - Rules of the Game
 
Learn why, when and how to set ground rules when selling.
 
Words by Kevin Hallinan
 
Salespeople often ask me to help them avoid the dreaded “think it over,” knowing it’s bad for business. They also tell me they don’t want to be pushy since they don’t appreciate being pushed by salespeople. However, they still need to be skilled at handling objection. So, what’s my advice?...Read the rest of the story HERE.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Difference Makers for February March 2020
 
Deep in the Heartland
 
River City Sales goes the extra mile for its mom-and-pop businesses, while encouraging retailers to embrace integration as technology continues to transform.
 
Words by Jamie Sorcher
In North America, the largest river system is primarily composed of Missouri’s two big rivers. The Mississippi and the Missouri rivers together form the fourth-longest river in the world, stretching more than 3,800 miles from Montana to the Gulf of Mexico.
Knowing that, there couldn’t be a more fitting name for St. Louis, Mo.-based rep/distribution firm River City Sales. Founded by Brett Phelps and Gary Cooley in 2014, the company covers the territory known as the MINK states—Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas.
“If you look at the territory, it’s anchored by Kansas City and St. Louis on each side of the Missouri,” Phelps said. “So we have an office in Kansas City and our main office in St. Louis. It’s where Gary and I are stationed and where we have our inside sales support, Lori Beyer.”
Beyer, he said, deals with incoming calls and managing accounts—whether it’s taking orders or handling shipping or credit issues, overseeing return authorizations, or anything that...Read the rest of the story HERE.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Real World Retail for February March 2020

Slow and Steady

Ocala Car Audio has built a name for itself by hosting and attending local events and weekend Bike Nights. The shop has entered the new year aiming to increase revenue in the motorcycle audio category through grassroots marketing.

Words by Rosa Sophia

Prior to opening Ocala Car Audio in Ocala, Fla., Parish Tanner worked in installation, sales, distribution and as a rep. Then, in 2008, he started installing at his home garage before moving to a retail location and joining with a business partner. “We were growing 15 to 18 percent per year,” Tanner said. In 2014, he and his business partner separated, and revenue dropped significantly. “I moved to a smaller shop with a smaller staff, but since 2015, we’ve had about 15 to 20 percent growth each year.”

Tanner attributes this growth to...Read the rest of the story HERE.

 

Copyright - Mobile Electronics Association 2020

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