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04 Feb

Installer of the Year Profile - Artist by Design

Thursday, 04 February 2021
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.
 
 
11 Jan

What's Happening - The Cyber Classroom

Monday, 11 January 2021
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.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
31 Dec

Thankful - Mobile Electronics Editors Forum

Thursday, 31 December 2020
[Read] the on the digital platform for Mobile Electronics magazine  

Thankful
Finding blessings in the midst of chaos
 
All of us have our own stories about the challenges we faced this year. It seems as if no one has escaped the pandemic effect. However, we all have something to be thankful for, too. Regardless of your situation, it’s important to pause and perhaps reflect upon things for which we can be thankful. You see, being thankful doesn’t mean you enjoyed the situation. But it does mean that, in the end, you understood and met the challenge, leaving you appreciative that you either overcame it or learned a valuable lesson that helped you grow personally, professionally or both.
 
My opening subtitle states, “Finding blessings in the midst of chaos.” When I think of chaos, I look at the many things at work to divide us. I found it heartbreaking that topics in the daily news left us arguing with each other. The complete lack of understanding by those who were chosen to lead us through this pandemic contributed to the confusion. Some news outlets reported good information while others reported not-so-good information. As a result, many of us argued these points amongst ourselves.
 
Many of these arguments played out on social media. Otherwise rational people chose sides and defended what they believed to be the truth. While I enjoy a robust and engaging discussion as much as the next person, this went beyond reasonable discussion. I spoke to many who lost friends in these arguments over topics such as medical and political information. This was the chaos to which I referred in my opening subtitle.
 
Yes, the pandemic, riots and political posturing were not the only things that produced chaos. The real chaos was related to all of those we’ve lost over the past year. Those for whom we can only seek to honor their memories. For those who’ve lost someone or something this year, I can only say that I am truly sorry you had to bear the brunt of the heartbreak produced in part from this pandemic.
 
I also opened this column with the title “Thankful.” Why? Where is the blessing, the silver-lined cloud we seek?
 
I am thankful for my family, friends and those of you who are part of the family we call our industry. I know every industry has unique attributes which give it an identity. But when I say I am thankful, I refer to the mobile electronics industry. We are unique in ways I have not experienced in other industries. Our identity is rooted in our desire and actions to help and support others in time of need. Arguments aside, I believe the blessing is in our actions to reach out and lift up those in need, those torn by forces out of their control. Acts of kindness greatly outweigh the chaos and go a long way toward defining who and what we are as an industry.
 
This year nearly all of us have suffered loss and disappointment in some way. In that, we have grown closer as an industry. We have also reaped the blessings of increased awareness and business which have in turn provided for our associates and our families.
Today, I challenge you to pause and reflect on the many blessings we have, and seek to mend any damaged friendships, because it’s important that we be there for each other and support one another in times of need—regardless of differing opinions.
 
I look forward to the New Year, to new beginnings and to blessings I know we’ll have as we continue to grow together to produce the awesome experiences that only our industry can provide.
 
 
Read the latest issue of Mobile Electronics magazine [Click 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.
 
MEA’s first virtual event hosted a record number of retailers
 
North Andover, MA – December 22, 2020 –The Mobile Electronics Association (MEA) hosted its largest KnowledgeFest to date as a virtual event. The trade show and conference led with an industry first technology that allowed attendees to connect live with exhibitors. Exhibitors received nearly 13,000 booth visits with nearly 20,000 views of exhibitor-related content. The event also launched a new sales rep networking feature called “Rep Connect.” Over 45 sales reps were engaged with hundreds of attendees. When it comes to KnowledgeFest education and training, no event can compare. The education and training had over 5,600 in attendance for the 60 hours of education workshops, manufacturer trainings and keynotes. And when it came to live interaction, over 1,200 attendees enjoyed the new live booth experience allowing them to connect and interact with exhibitors.
 
“Due in part to the event’s online platform, KnowledgeFest.Live saw a record number of attendees totaling over 2,500 from across the country and around the globe,” stated MEA president Chris Cook. “the event featured more than 30 brands, 24 show cars displayed in the online platform, five keynotes and events, and 57 manufacturer trainings and educational workshops.”
 
Finishing the event was the annual Mobile Electronics Industry Awards that that was live-streamed on Facebook and YouTube. The event has more than 4,000 views and 850 comments making it our largest audience to date. At the opening of the awards, Mr. Cook encouraged viewers and attendees to see the coming year as a “comeback,” and to take the time to develop new relationships with customers, new opportunities for businesses, and instead of a “new normal,” focus on utilizing newly acquired knowledge to spark future successes. “It’s been a difficult and challenging year,” Mr. Cook noted, adding, “One we will never forget and for many, we can’t wait until it’s over. Let’s make sure we reflect on this experience and think about how we adapted, learned and—in many cases—conquered.”
MEA will host the KnowledgeFest.Live education workshops, select manufacturer trainings, keynotes on-demand through the end of 2021. Stay tuned for future KnowledgeFest.Live event announcements for 2021 as MEA looks towards the future of online and hybrid events to meet the education needs of our industry.
 
About the Mobile Electronics Association
Mobile Electronics Association (MEA) is a trade association comprised of installing dealers and product vendors dedicated to serving the needs of the mobile electronics specialist industry. MEA owns and produces KnowledgeFest, regional trade-only industry events that combine educational programming and vendor training with a trade show floor. MEA owns and publishes the monthly Mobile Electronics® magazine, which is the industry’s #1 resource, as well as other digital media, including websites and the industry’s e-newsletter Hotwire. MEA provides software and data-driven services to vendors and retailers.
 
Learn more at mobile-electronics.com
Media Contact:
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978-645-6434
The virtual event was broadcast live to thousands of viewers
 
North Andover, Mass. – December 13, 2020 – The Mobile Electronics® Association (MEA) announced the winners of the 2020 Mobile Electronics Industry Awards. The awards were presented Sunday evening at the conclusion of a successful KnowledgeFest.Live virtual event. The awards recognize and honor professionals in the mobile electronics industry that exhibit outstanding service, business ethics, professionalism, and expertise in their field.
 
Chris Cook, President of MEA, hosted the event which was viewed online by thousands of industry professionals, including family and friends, from the United States and around the globe. Top honors for Installer of the Year went to Justin Kush of Mobile Toys Inc. in College Station, Texas. Retailer of the Year (single store) was awarded to both Divine Concepts, Naples, Fla. and Car-Tunes, Greenville, Miss. Sales Pro of the Year went to Jason Kranitz of Kingpin Car & Marine Audio in Henderson, Nev. and Trusted Tech of the Year went to Chris McNulty of Kingpin University in Henderson, Nev. Vendor of the Year went to AudioControl and Distributor of the Year went to DOW Electronics.
 
Installer of the Year
Justin Kush – Mobile Toys Inc. – College Station, TX
 
Installer of the Year – Runner-Up
Dean Beyett – Five Star Car Stereo – Clearwater, FL
 
Sales Pro Award Winner
Jason Kranitz – Kingpin Car & Marine Audio – Henderson, NV
 
Trusted Tech Award Winner
Chris McNulty – Kingpin Car & Marine Audio – Henderson, NV
 
Retailer of the Year
Car-Tunes Inc. – Greenville, MS
 
Retailer of the Year
Divine Concepts – Naples, FL
 
Retailer of the Year Runner-up
Mobile Toys Inc. – College Station, TX
 
Retailer of the Year Runner-up
Traffic Jams Motorsports – Buford, GA
 
Rookie of the Year
Oscar Rodriguez – J’s Tint & Car Audio – Dallas, TX
 
Most Improved Store or Chain
KarTele Mobile Electronics – Waterbury, CT
 
Best Online Presence
NVS Audio – Roselle, NJ
 
Best Customer Retention Program
JML Audio of St. Louis – Fenton, MO
 
Best Customer Experience
Elevated Audio – Denver, CO
 
Best Store Culture
Traffic Jams Motorsports – Buford, GA
 
Customer Choice Award
Mobile Toys Inc. – College Station, TX
 
Career Achievement Award
Tom Malone
 
Expeditor of the Year
American Radio
 
Distributor of the Year
DOW Electronics
 
Rep Firm of the Year
Marketing Pros – Arlington, TX
 
Rep of the Year
Mike Rundel, Sony
 
Vendor of the Year
AudioControl
 
Top Vendor: Autosound & Processing
Sony
 
Top Vendor: Security, Safety and Driver Assistance
AAMP
 
Top Vendor: Accessories and Materials
Metra Electronics
 
Top Vendor: Infotainment & Multimedia
Sony
 
Top Vendor: Powersports & Marine
JL Audio
 
About the Mobile Electronics Association
Mobile Electronics Association (MEA) is a trade association comprised of installing dealers and product vendors dedicated to serving the needs of the mobile electronics specialist industry. MEA owns and produces KnowledgeFest, regional trade-only industry events that combine educational programming and vendor training with a trade show floor. MEA owns and publishes the monthly Mobile Electronics® magazine, which is the industry’s #1 resource, as well as other digital media, including websites and the industry’s e-newsletter Hotwire. MEA provides software and data-driven services to vendors and retailers. Learn more at mobile-electronics.com.
###
05 Nov

A Victory for Right to Repair

Thursday, 05 November 2020
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.
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:
 
Come Together
 
One industry, association and purpose.
 
A little over ten years ago—November 4, 2009 to be exact—I stood on a stage at the SEMA Show with a few other industry leaders to announce the purchase of MERA (now MEA) and that we would be re-launching a new KnowledgeFest on October 10, 2010 (10-10-10) in Dallas, Texas. At that launch, we played a fitting tune: The Beatles’ “Come Together.” Why that song, you ask? It was the prelude for our mission to unite a very fractured industry. It came from a strong desire to create an association that brought a group of talented albeit underrepresented individuals together for a common purpose, to improve upon each other and the industry in the process. To create an association with benefits that either saved or made our members money. One that focused on great education opportunities and provided highly relevant information, thus empowering our industry to thrive.
 
Bringing Benefits to Specialty Retailers
Back in 2008, the association had dwindled to less than 100 members and was no longer able to support the trade event that had been held every year since 1993. Knowing this, we set out to relaunch the associations premiere trade event, KnowledgeFest. Looking back, it was a great accomplishment and a good first step to creating something that provided a learning environment for the benefit of the entire industry. However, an event was not the only thing to revive. Next, we set out to review the offered benefits from the association and decide how best to move forward with value for our members.
 
Our goal was to create an association that provided benefits to assist specialty retailers with technology and services. These benefits should either save retailers money, help them make money, or both. We added the industry’s best-known point-of-sale and scheduling software, Total Sales and Scheduling (TSS), to our arsenal. Then we added a long-time standard for vehicle fitment and wiring information, the Mobile Automotive Information Database (MAID). Both were transferred from our parent company, InstallerNet. These two technology offerings provide high value to our members. To date, most of our members use them. Soon after, we added websites and in-store signage solutions to round out these offerings. However, this was only the beginning.
 
Nurturing Continued Growth Year Over Year
Next, we sought out partners to provide great member benefits that met or exceeded our standards. One of those partners is the Member Savings Program. Our partnership provided benefits that save members thousands of dollars per year through the buying power of a group purchasing alliance made up of over 150 associations.
 
In an effort to present our members to consumers, we created a consumer-focused website that provides members with a listing including their location, hours of operation, company slogan and links to website and social media sites. Check it out at www.MEAPreferred.com. Take some time to review the benefits, and you’ll find discount shipping programs, savings on payroll processing, free registration to KnowledgeFest events, professional business coaching and Mobile Electronics magazine. These are just some examples of the many cost-saving and money-making benefits of being an MEA member.
 
Today, MEA is over 1,000 members strong. Your mobile electronics (trade) association consists of manufacturers, retailers and service providers of automotive aftermarket technology products. Through our coast-to-coast offering of KnowledgeFest trade shows and conferences, we can provide top-notch education, networking opportunities and business services designed to advance professionalism and profitability for all of the industry's stakeholders.
 
Providing Top-Tier Education
Our publication, Mobile Electronics magazine, is the industry’s #1 resource with more than 18,000 digital subscribers. The monthly publication acknowledges top retailers, installers and suppliers through the annual Mobile Electronics Industry Awards.
Finally, KnowledgeFest provides a three-day event with emphasis on experience, learning and connecting with others in the mobile electronics industry. These events provide you with the best opportunity to learn from other successful industry professionals at either Long Beach, Calif., Indianapolis, Ind., Orlando, Fla. and or Dallas, Texas. Finishing out 2020 we will celebrate with our first-ever virtual KnowledgeFest.
 
When it comes to the Mobile Electronics industry, many of us who’ve been around a few years will tell you that when it comes to organizations looking to represent this unique group of people, there have been a few that properly represent all stakeholders. Know that the Mobile Electronics Association will always be here to lead the industry though both the good times and the not-so-good times. I look forward to hearing from you on how we can service you better. Please feel free to contact me or any of our team to learn how you can reap the benefits.
 
Read the latest issue of Mobile Electronics magazine [Click Here]
 
 
[Read] the on the digital platform for Mobile Electronics magazine  
 

Taking Time out for a Pandemic
 
This year continues to bring new beginnings to our industry—and endings.
 
When the year began, many of us celebrated. We may have taken time to reflect on the past year and our performance related to both our failures and accomplishments. For some reason, we tend to view the first of January with a renewed sense of commitment to our future selves. As the year progressed, we discovered life might not be unfolding the way we were hoped. While pondering global issues is great for an evening of pontification on Facebook, it’s far from what each of us has endured over the past few months. I don’t believe any of us could have predicted or even imagined these unusual circumstances.
 
First, let’s look at some of the endings. As of this writing, Yelp disclosed that, as of the end of August, over 160,000 businesses indicated they have closed. That was down from the 180,000 that closed at the very beginning of the pandemic. This represents a 23 percent increase in the number of closures since mid-July. In addition to monitoring closed businesses, Yelp also considers the businesses whose closures have become permanent. That number has steadily increased throughout the past six months, reaching nearly 100,000, representing 60 percent of closed businesses that won’t be reopening. We have also witnessed businesses scaling back, filing for bankruptcy protection, and closing for good on a scale that few of us have ever seen before. Names like Brooks Brothers, Gold’s Gym, Neiman Marcus, JC Penny and Hertz, to name a few, have all filed for bankruptcy protection. Regardless of who you are, chances are that this scaling back and business closures have affected you in some way. I am thankful that very few in our industry have had to close. The reports we received revealed a handful of specialty retailers that haven’t made it through the pandemic.
 
However, in the midst of tragedy, our industry has flourished. Many businesses had to temporarily close at the beginning of the pandemic. Some were able to operate as essential businesses, but with limited opportunity since many potential customers were staying home. But the vast majority reported that once they’d reopened, business not only went up, but way up. Many attributed this initially to stimulus checks and additional income from stimulus-related unemployment benefits. While that has since dried up, the increase in sales have not. If fact, they continue to increase despite industry shortages, continued restrictions and unemployment numbers. It seems that our industry continues to benefit partially from pent-up demand and from an influx of new customers who are spending on vehicle technology rather than experiences like concerts or theme parks. And with reduced air travel, people are upgrading for family road trips.
 
There have also been other new beginnings. New terms have entered our conversation, terms like social distancing, flattening the curve and community spread. None of them should appear on your favorites list. In addition, we have learned to Zoom, or use video conferencing and webinars, instead of meeting face-to-face. This new trend is being used to attend schools, have government meetings, and for our industry, provide continuing education. This shift in socialization has allowed our industry to stay connected despite having to miss all important events like KnowledgeFest, SEMA and even CES. On a more regional level, some distributors have used Zoom-like technologies to host events with good success. I have personally spoken as a panelist, keynote and presenter at countless events. I can tell you firsthand that while I appreciate the opportunities, I truly miss the face-to-face presentations which allow greater interaction with the audience. But for now, I am thankful for every opportunity to connect with other industry professionals regardless of the challenges that webinars present.
 
Until we are all able to meet once again face-to-face, I challenge you to take the time to attend as many webinars as you are able. Also, take the time to pick up the phone and call someone and encourage them. As you do, you will find that all of us have a story and all of us have learned lessons that will be part of some great conversations when we all can meet again. Until then, stay safe and healthy!
 
Read the latest issue of Mobile Electronics magazine [Click Here]
MEA cancels the in-person event in response to new COVID threat level in Dallas
 
North Andover, MA – October 16, 2020 – Despite a strong number of retailers in the Dallas area indicating a willingness to attend KnowledgeFest LIVE, the Mobile Electronics Association (MEA) announced today that it had to cancel the in-person portion of KnowledgeFest LIVE in December due to new Dallas County orders regarding COVID-19 health guidance for the public which recently changed to their highest-level Red meaning “Stay at home, stay safe”.
 
“It’s unfortunate as our industry was looking forward to having a live event.” said Chris Cook, MEA President. “We had strong support from exhibitors and retailers wanting to attend in-person. We will now target all of our efforts towards delivering a valuable virtual KnowledgeFest LIVE event”.
MEA expects to conduct webinars over the next few weeks to demonstrate the virtual event for attendees and exhibitors. KnowledgeFest LIVE was always going to include a virtual experience to accommodate both retailers and manufacturers not able to attend due to company travel restrictions.
 
The event will be presented through a new digital platform allowing attendees to participate in education workshops, manufacturer trainings, and take a virtual tour of exhibitor booths.
 
KnowledgeFest LIVE will also announce and celebrate the winners of the Mobile Electronics Industry Awards during a special live evening event.
 
To register for KnowledgeFest LIVE or get information on how your company can become an exhibitor, visit KnowledgeFest.org
 
Upcoming KnowledgeFest events:
  • December 4-6, 2020 - Virtual
  • February 9-11, 2021 - Long Beach, CA
  • April 9-11, 2021 - Indianapolis, IN
  • June 25-27, 2021 - Orlando, FL
  • August 6-8, 2021 – Dallas, TX
 
About the Mobile Electronics Association
Mobile Electronics Association (MEA) is a trade association comprised of installing dealers and product vendors dedicated to serving the needs of the mobile electronics specialist industry. MEA owns and produces KnowledgeFest, regional trade-only industry events that combine educational programming and vendor training with a trade show floor. MEA owns and publishes the monthly Mobile Electronics® magazine, which is the industry’s #1 resource, as well as other digital media, including websites and the industry’s e-newsletter Hotwire. MEA provides software and data-driven services to vendors and retailers. Learn more at mobile-electronics.com.
 
Media Contact:
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
978-645-6434
15 Oct

Devine Concepts in Real World Retail

Thursday, 15 October 2020
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.
 
North Andover, Mass., – October 09, 2020 – Mobile Electronics announced the finalists for the 2020 Industry Awards yesterday, live on Zoom and its Facebook page. MEA President, Chris Cook held the Finalists Presentation, in which The Top 12 Retailers, Top 12 Installers, Top 5 Technicians and new Top 5 Sales Professionals and other awards were announced. Also noted were the "Top 3" and "Top 5" awards for finalists in the vendor, expeditor, sales rep, rep firm and distributor categories, as well as the top 5 Technicians denoting the finalists for the coveted Trusted Tech award. Each "Top" award recipient will receive a signed wall certificate.
 
While the final stage of the Industry Awards will be held in Dallas during KnowledgeFest, Cook noted that the announcement produced its own set of winners.
"It's important to recognize that making it to the Top 12, Top 5 and Top 3 categories signals a major achievement in this industry," he explained. "It means that these individuals, stores, brands and companies are part of a unique group that represents the best of our industry. We're overdue in recognizing the significance of their efforts, and I am proud to create a special event for that purpose.
 
Some of the award categories are decided solely on industry votes. For these, the top vote-getter will be announced at KnowledgeFest as the ultimate winner of the category. For the Top 12 retailers, Top 12 Installers, Top 5 Technicians and Top 5 Sales Professionals, each recipient will need to submit additional materials for judging to determine the winner in each category.
 
The finalists lists can be viewed at meindustryawards.com by clicking on the Winners tab and selecting '2020' winners. To view the 2020 Industry Awards Finalists Presentation, visit the Mobile Electronics magazine page on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MobileElectronics. The final awards will be announced at the Mobile Electronics Industry Awards celebration during the KnowledgeFest trade show and conference in Dallas, December 4-6. For more information, visit www.meindustryawards.com.
 
2020 Top 12 Installers
Marty Adamschek – Andres Electronics – Courtenay, BC
Nick Apicella – Apicella Auto Sound – Stony Point, NY
Dean Beyett – Five Star Car Stereo – Clearwater, FL
Michael Bischoff – Traffic Jams Motorsports – Buford, GA
John Brettle – Cartunes of Atlanta – Atlanta, GA
Phillip Cantu – Elevated Audio – Lakewood, CO
Adam Devine – Devine Concepts – Naples, FL
Nicholas Frazier – iNNovative Concepts – Wilbraham, MA
Justin Kush – Mobile Toys Inc. – College Station, TX
Jaime Palafox – Agoura Autosounds – Agoura Hills, CA
Dalton Trainer – Car-Tunes Inc. – Greenville, MS
Matt Vowell – Mobile Toys Inc. – College Station, TX
Alternants:
#2: Christopher – Labonte Vibe Car Audio – Red Deer, AB
#1: Jesse Rhodes – Boomers Audio – Tulsa, OK
 
2020 Top 12 Retailers
Absolute Electronix – Rockville, MD
Apicella Auto Sound – Stony Point, NY
Audio Systems – Moreno Valley, CA
Car-Tunes – Greenville, MS
Devine Concepts – Naples, FL
Elevated Audio – Lakewood, CO
iNNovative Concepts – Wilbraham, MA
Mobile Toys Inc. – College Station, TX
NVS Audio – Roselle, NJ
Traffic Jams Motorsports – Buford, GA
Showtime Audio – Chicago, IL
Titan Motoring – Nashville, TN
Alternants:
#2: SoundsGood Auto – Burnaby, BC
#1: Foss Audio & Tint – Tukwila, WA
 
2020 Top 5 Sales Professionals
Donald Darouse Elevated Audio Lakewood, CO
Jason Kranitz Kingpin Car & Marine Audio Henderson, NV
Corbin May Visions Electronics Grand Prairie, AB
Jim Skaggs Mobile Toys Inc. College Station, TX
Ronald Venable Traffic Jams Motorsports Buford, GA
 
2020 Top 5 Technicians
Dean Beyett Five Star Car Stereo Clearwater, FL
John Brettle Cartunes of Atlanta Atlanta, GA
Phillip Cantu Elevated Audio Lakewood, CO
Nicholas Frazier – Innovative Concepts – West Springfield, MA
Matt Vowell Mobile Toys Inc. College Station, TX
 
2020 Rookie of the Year
Timothy Langevin Innovative Concepts – Wilbraham, MA
Oscar Rodriguez J’s Tint & Car Audio – Dallas
Saul Sanchez  NVS Audio – Roselle, NJ
 
2020 Performance Awards
Most Improved Location
806 Autoworks
Apicella Auto Sound
KarTele Mobile Electronics
 
Best Online Presence
Apicella Auto Sound
Elevated Audio
NVS Audio
 
Best Customer Retention Program
JML Audio of St. Louis
The Car Audio Shop
Tunes-N-Tint
 
Best Customer Experience
Apicella Auto Sound
Elevated Audio
JML Audio of St. Louis
 
Best Store Culture
Apicella Auto Sound
Ocala Car Audio
Traffic Jams Motorsports
 
2020 Top 3 Expeditors
American Radio
Sound FX
Titan Motoring
 
2020 Top 3 Distributors
Davis Distribution
DOW Electronics
GoFast Solutions
 
2020 Top 5 Rep Firms
12 Volt Marketing Group
12 Volt Specialist
Echo Sales
MAG Sales
Marketing Pros
 
2020 Top 5 Sales Reps
Nalaka Adikari ORCA Designe
Jon Brothers Metra Electronics
Mike Eckley AAMP Gloobal
Jonathan Mercado GoFast
Mike Rundel SONY
 
2020 Top 3 Vendors - Autosound & Processing
AudioControl
JL Audio
Sony
 
2020 Top 3 Vendors - Accessories & Materials
AAMP Global
Metra Electronics
Mobile Solutions
 
2020 Top 3 Vendors - Infotainment & Multimedia
Alpine Electronics
KENWOOD
SONY
 
2020 Top 3 Vendors - Security, Safety & Driver Assistance
AAMP Global
Firstech
Voxx Electronics
 
2020 Top 3 Vendors - Powersports & Marine
JL Audio
Kicker
Rockford Fosgate
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’! 

 
 
 
[Watch] on Vimeo
[Listen] and Subscribe on Apple Podcast
[Listen] and Subscribe on SoundCloud 
[Read] the on the digital platform for Mobile Electronics magazine 

 
Focus and Finish Strong
It’s time to make the most of the opportunity.
 
We are facing many challenges as an industry. We experienced a lapse in business, followed by a huge increase, and major product shortages. What could be next? No one really knows.
Here’s what we do know: You’ll be opening your doors with great expectations, focused on closing the sale and delivering the highest quality customer service, along with keeping your team motivated and happy. In the midst of your daily mission, it’s important to review your numbers and ensure being busy translates to growth and prosperity.
 
Track and review your business’s performance
The first two quarters of the year are behind us. The third quarter is in play. How we finish this one is essential when it comes to setting up your business for the final quarter of the year. Some of us view this with anticipation and others with trepidation. Regardless of your outlook, it’s imperative to focus on making the numbers at this all-important time for your business.
When measuring success, there are a couple benchmarks to review. One is year-over-year performance. The other is daily, weekly and month-to-month performance. How your business performed over the last year is a good indicator of gross revenue growth. First, review the current month as it relates to the same month last year. Then, review your year-to-date performance versus the same period to date for the previous year. This allows you to better understand your seasonal performance and your overall performance to date.
 
When reviewing daily, weekly and monthly performance, focus on daily revenue and whether it’s increasing, decreasing or staying relatively flat. Tracking daily, weekly and monthly gross revenue will help you see current trends, allowing you to adjust and focus to meet your goals. There are many other key performance indicators (KPI) to track as part of your daily dashboard. However, when business is good and your team is stretched thin, the above KPIs will at the least give you a heads-up on performance. There’s nothing worse than being busy only to discover you’re not doing as well as you thought. Make sure you keep up with performance so you don’t look back in disappointment.
 
Do we have that in stock?
Speaking of disappointment. Many of you have indicated that inventory shortages have been inhibiting your ability to deliver on customer requests. Many of you have been enjoying the benefits of “just-in-time” delivery. In an inventory shortage environment, this practice can severely inhibit your ability to take advantage of the increased customer interest in your business. It’s extremely easy to become accustomed to letting others carry inventory levels to fulfill your business needs. This is not one of those times.
 
During inventory shortages, review what you have available to sell. Do this every day. Make a list, and share it with your team. Then focus on what’s available to make the sale. Next, contact each of your suppliers and request an update. Make sure you know what’s in the pipeline so you can fulfill the needs of customers looking for specific brands and or products. Again, share this information with your team. Find a way to say yes to your customer regardless of your situation.
 
Make the most of every sale
Lastly, focus on producing the most in every sale. When it’s business as usual, it’s much easier to focus on maximizing each sale. When you’re remarkably busy, not so much. This is the time when having processes in place will help you gain higher profitability. If you don’t have anything in place, don’t worry—there’s still time to do something that will keep you from losing out. Here are a few easy-to-implement ideas.
Review anything you have which could become an add-on for a sale. It could be a performance guarantee (a warranty), cleaning and detailing, non-mobile electronics products such as sunglasses, specialty items or services. Once identified, make sure each of these are offered to every customer.
 
If you want to go a step further, look at the top five or ten vehicles that tend to be repeats at your store. Then, make a list of things to offer to each. Communicate this with your team, and make sure these are offered every single time. Do this without fail, and I can guarantee it will not only increase your revenue, but it will also add to your bottom line!
 
Taking a few minutes out of your day to add these simple processes should help you focus on the main goal: Make or exceed your numbers today.
 
Read the latest issue of Mobile Electronics magazine [Click Here]
 
 
 
KANSAS CITY, MO. (September 2, 2020) – CPS Distributors, Inc. will be showcasing a solid core mix of marine lighting products from Marine Sport® Lighting, an upcoming and popular brand amongst the marine industry over the last 3-4 years. CPS first partnered with Marine Sport® Lighting in 2019 and made their first debut with the brand at IBEX 2019 in Tampa Bay. Last years show produced several good prospects that helped CPS’s initial traction with the brand and let boat builders know they had a full spectrum lighting line up to service their projects, both big and small.
Marine Sport® Lighting is best known in the industry for their phenomenal line up of marine grade professional light bars used for high power vision on dark waterways. Their light bars are high quality with a line up of a variety of lengths, styles, and beam pattern options for spot or flood. Included in this popular family of products are some great docking and spreader lights on the auxiliary side.
 
Marine Sport® Lighting is making headway in the underwater category as well with their popular and fast growing HydroBLAST® family of lights. The HydroBLAST® family is a la carte and gives you an option between remote and smartphone controlled, with various colors and finishes in deck lighting, and an amazing array of high lumen underwater lights. For more information about this lighting system, please contact CPS or Marine Sport Lighting for more information.
Lastly, this company has many other great marine lighting solutions, led switches, voltage gauges and more. In 2021, be on the look out for a revolutionary new docking light designed by their engineers in conjunction with a yet to be named boat manufacturer in our industry. There is some other great new products on the horizon as well to look for at the IBEX Virtual Show.

About Marine Sport® Lighting.
Established in 2007, Race Sport Lighting is the parent company that founded and trademarked the Marine Sport® Lighting brand in 2015. Race Sport Lighting is a well-known leader in lighting technology to the Automotive and Mobile Electronics industries and has been aggressively growing their marine industry footprint. The company is well known for their diverse approach of being a one stop premier lighting supplier to multiple industries. Located in Ringwood, IL, their staff is extremely technical in lighting and electronics, and customer orientated in a way that has earned them multiple Vendor of the Year awards. https://www.racesportinc.com/marine-sport-lighting.html
About CPS Distributors, Inc.
 
Established in 1971, CPS Distributors, Inc. is the exclusive marine distributor of audio & equipment including JVC, Kicker®, Memphis, CPS brand, and lighting equipment from Marine Sport® Lighting. With a dedicated team of product specialists serving over 2,500 marinas, dealerships, and boat builders in the US and Canada, we specialize in assisting our customers with system design, technology and aftermarket products that enhance the enjoyment of the boating lifestyle. Located in Kansas City, Missouri, our staff of dedicated marine industry experts are here to help you add value to your business and customer experience. cpsdistributorsinc.com
 
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01 Sep

The Car Audio Shop in Real World Retail

Tuesday, 01 September 2020

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.

Winners from first phase of Industry Awards are semifinalists for top honors
 
NORTH ANDOVER, MASS., August 26, 2020 (MEDIAWIRE) — The Mobile Electronics Association (MEA) announced the winners from the first phase of the 2020 Mobile Electronics Industry Awards. The announcement comes after industry nominees submitted videos describing their business or professions. Judges appointed by the association reviewed the videos and selected the winners, comprising the Top 50 Installers, Top 50 Retailers and Top 20 Sales Professionals. The complete list of winners is posted at the official Industry Awards website, meindustryawards.com.

“I’d like to thank our judges for their diligence, objectivity and hard work during the first phase of our industry’s most important tradition,” said Solomon Daniels, program administrator. “In an industry where it seems everyone knows or knows of everyone else, it’s especially difficult to put all that aside and make judgements based on the merits of each submission.”

The judges for the first phase were Tim Baillie, current Installer of the Year; Richard Basler, director of membership at MEA; Chris Pate, owner of Mobile Toys Inc. in College Station, Texas and former Installer of the Year; Matt Schaeffer, former Installer of the Year and lead fabricator at Sound FX and Musaic in Lewes, Del.; and George Smith, owner of Mobileworks in Santa Maria, Calif.

Judges follow a score sheet that matches the requirements of the video, and mark scores based on completeness and depth of knowledge for each answer. They can also award additional points for exceptional insight, creativity, or uniqueness in a submission.

Winners at this stage also qualify as semi-finalists the top honors of Retailer of the Year, Installer of the Year and Sales Pro of the year. Top 50 Installers award recipients can also opt to run for 2020 Trusted Tech, an award given to professional installers who excel more from an electronics standpoint than a design standpoint.

The next phase of the competition features voting by industry professionals and consumers to narrow the semifinalists list down to finalists. These categories are joined by other categories of which industry professionals vote to select top suppliers, reps and rep firms, distributors, and expeditors, as well as retail locations that excel in specific business practices. Voting will begin Thursday, August 27 and run for three weeks.

“Even though the ultimate competition is ongoing, we want to take this opportunity to congratulate our Top 50 and Top 20 winners,” said Chris Cook, president of MEA. “These are major accomplishments in themselves and represent the hard work and growth of stores and individuals over the past year. It’s great to see that, despite the unprecedented events of the past few months, our industry members continue to strive to be the best and set examples for their peers.”
Voting will take place at meindustryawards.com. Visit the website for additional information on the Mobile Electronics Industry Awards.

About the Mobile Electronics Association
Mobile Electronics Association (MEA) is a trade association comprised of installing dealers and product vendors dedicated to serving the needs of the mobile electronics specialist industry. MEA owns and produces KnowledgeFest™, regional trade-only industry events that combine educational programming and vendor training with a trade show floor. MEA owns and publishes the monthly Mobile Electronics® magazine, which is the industry’s #1 resource, as well as other digital media, including websites and the industry’s e-newsletter Hotwire. MEA provides software and data-driven services to vendors and retailers. Learn more at mobile-electronics.com.
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