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Experimenting with new product lines and a willingness to change with the times brought family business Auto Sound to its 45-year anniversary. 

April 5, 2016, Mobile Electronics Magazine -- When Auto Sound opened in 1971 in Holbrook, Mass., the driving force behind it was Ron Needleman, Sr.’s own father. “He died when I was 12. I knew he wanted to own his own business and I was determined to fulfill his dream for him,” he said. “In 1971, I borrowed $2,000.00 from my bank, gave Automatic Radio my notice and started Auto Sound with a dozen radios I purchased from Audiovox. My wife, Connie, gave birth to our sixth child, Ron Jr., the same week I started the business. She and I ran the business out of our garage for the first year. I asked another employee at Automatic Radio, Bernie Feldman, to join me, and we became partners.”

It has now been 45 years, and much has changed, but the core of Auto Sound as a family business remains strong. Ambition appears to run in the family. “My sons Paul and Ron Jr. now own and run the business with help from Howard Honigbaum as president.” With 40 employees in all, Auto Sound has two main locations and one satellite location, allowing the business to strengthen connections with local dealerships, giving them a chance to grow more quickly.

Automotive Heritage

Ron Needleman, Jr. doesn’t recall what it was like having the business in the family home, but he does remember going to work with his father and eventually becoming a full-time employee in 1989 when he graduated from high school. “I am the youngest of four sons, and at one point all four were in the business. Now it’s just my brother and me,” he said. “I don’t even remember ever thinking about doing anything else. Since I was little, I always went to work with my father on Saturdays, and I always wanted to work at Auto Sound. I didn’t even go to college. I had to take a day off work to go to my own high school graduation. I was already working full-time. All my brothers, four of us, did the same thing.”

Before opening Auto Sound, Ron Needleman, Sr. went to college at Northeastern University for mechanical engineering, and was hired by Automatic Radio to design car radios. “In the early 70s, I was Chief Mechanical Engineer for Automatic Radio Manufacturing Co. in Melrose, Mass.,” he said. “I was responsible for their Custom Aftermarket Radio Program. I was sent to San Francisco to consult with one of our distributors. While there, I observed their daily operation and was amazed to find they sent installers on the road to car dealers. This was not done on the east coast to my knowledge. On the flight back, I started to plan how I could start a similar business in Mass.”

The business has changed a lot since the 70s, focusing first on car audio and now on other aspects of 12-volt. Though Auto Sound still does a fair amount of car audio, it is not their number one seller. “Through the 70s, it was mainly car audio, and in the 80s it transitioned into security and alarms,” Ron Needleman, Jr. said. “Car audio stayed strong through the 80s, but we were doing a lot of alarm systems; rear window defrost was a big thing; cruise controls, which we still do; power windows; power door locks. They were a lot bigger 15 years ago, and that took us from the car audio time into the remote start time.” 

Read the rest of the story in the April issue of Mobile Electronics, HERE

This year’s top-tier professionals are moving forward by gaining and sharing knowledge to help improve the industry as a whole.

Words by Rosa Sophia

Pierce Barrett of Soundscape Car Audio in Carrollton, Texas—one of this year’s Top 12 Installers—pointed out there’s something satisfying about learning a new skill. “When you’re delivering the vehicle to the customer, and you see their excitement at the project, you’re thinking, ‘I built that,’” he said. “It’s an amazing feeling.”

For many installers, retailers and sales professionals, the passion they have for their work overlaps into their personal interests. These rising stars in the 12-volt industry share their what they’re proud of and their recent challenges, but most of all, what... [click here] to read more.

7-19-2017, Mobile Electronics -- Out on the west coast of California where many car audio and video companies are headquartered, SAVV Entertainment Systems makes its home, too. A manufacturer and importer of 12-volt video products, dash cams, and its range of Smart-Link products, the company has its own engineering lab in South Korea and manufacturing facility in China.

In business since 1998, SAVV has steadfastly built a strong network of regional distributors and retailers. A regular in the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center during CES for more than a decade, SAVV has also through the years established itself as an OEM partner to automakers and to other 12-volt companies.

Interestingly, the company established itself on a product category that is diminishing every year, and while it will never go away, rear seat entertainment has been forever changed.

“We have been doing video products for years—and that is our specialty,” said Daniel Lee, vice president of SAVV. “That includes headrest monitors and overhead monitors which we have offered since the company began back in 1998.”

Today, the most popular size for the overhead monitor is still the 10- inch, according to Lee. For the headrest, the most popular sizes are between seven and nine inches. “That has been the standard for years,” he said. “A few years back, there was a demand for larger screens so we brought out a 10-inch headrest monitor. We were the first company in the U.S. with that product, but the market demands have changed. It has been steady for years now at seven to nine inches.”

Zone Alone

Not that long ago, in-vehicle entertainment systems became a pretty big deal. Whatever options the consumer chose—overhead monitors or a pair of headrest versions—having movies in the car started out as a novelty. Ultimately these monitors became big sellers for families as a way to keep the kids entertained on vacations, road trips, or even just rides around town while getting errands done.

But with the continued popularity of tablets (the iPad came out in April of 2010) and the even bigger proliferation of smartphones that kids have learned to use practically at pre-school age, the idea of an overhead and or rear seat monitor has gotten some serious competition in the car.

More common than ever these days is that everyone has his or her own zone in a vehicle. In-vehicle entertainment—rear seat entertainment, in particular—is still an important and enjoyable convenience for a family to have, but it has meant some rethinking for SAVV.

Read the rest of the article HERE.

6-21-2017, Mobile Electronics Magazine -- Marketing techniques are not one-size-fits-all. How a business approaches marketing and customer retention varies depending on a lot of factors, including demographics, location and niche. When it comes to customer retention through email, business owners must find a good balance in order to avoid alienating customers by sending too many emails. To make email marketing effective, a strategy has to be implemented that takes into account subject lines, content and graphics that emotionally engage the consumer.

Jon Dewar owns Modern Media Geeks, a company based out of Kingsland, Ga. to help businesses with online marketing. Dewar has worked with businesses in a number of industries and acknowledged the difficulty of finding the right approach.

“It’s a massive deal. Email marketing as a whole is not a strong sector. Any good email marketer will tell you, you want the email to be sent at five or six in the morning so it’s at the top of the inbox,” Dewar said, noting that most people turn off their alarm in the morning and then pick up their phone. “It’s a fighting chance you’ll be opened instead of swiped.” Use engaging graphics that spark an emotion, Dewar said, and choose a catchy title. “Constant Contact, Mail Chimp, Wix has one—any of those are fantastic,” he said, naming a few providers that help create attractive emails. These providers also offer templates that make it easier to design an email that’s both eye-catching and informative.

Client Connections

The first and most common method of collecting email addresses is at the point of sale. Dewar recommended that an email address always be gathered when the sale is made. “We have to register you for the warranty. What email would you like to use?” Dewar said. “You’re not imposing on them, but you have that information now. Build your list if you need to reach out to them for any reason.”

An opt-in feature on a business’s website can also help gather email addresses if the business provides a newsletter. However, there are some key factors to remember: never send so many emails that you’re spamming customers, send email only when necessary and always provide quality content. Don’t rely solely on electronic means to make a personal connection with your customers.

Not everything can be done through email. Kimberly Trainer, president of Car-Tunes, Inc. in Greenville, Miss., believes that a personal connection will help to keep a business top-of-mind. “Our customer is our best advertisement,” she said. “When a customer comes in, I can talk about anything—the weather, their car, their kids. Whatever. That may not have anything to do with what they came in for. When you connect, they keep coming back. That’s something you can’t really do through an email.” A downside to email marketing is relying on it too much: Don’t miss out on making the personal connection in-person.

Car-Tunes has been collecting email addresses for six to eight months, according to Trainer, but they have yet to implement email marketing tactics. “It’s a nice idea to use in addition to what we’re doing, but in today’s digital age, there’s something to be said for someone coming in and we take care of what they need,” she said. “You will be on their mind. They need that extra technical, professional environment. You can’t get that through a computer.”

Sean Davis, president of Tip Top Customs in Morris, Ill., noted that Tip Top has utilized more than one approach when it comes to email marketing campaigns. “In the past, we used Infusionsoft and Businessworx to handle our email marketing campaigns. Both programs were great at letting us choose how often we would send emails out to current customers.”

Davis added that a newsletter campaign is set up several months ahead of time and the emails are sent automatically. “This helps keep us consistent so we don’t have to try and find the time to do it every month,” he explained. “It also lets us set the amount of emails customers will receive each month so we know we are not bombarding them. I have found that one to two emails per month works well and keeps our opt-out numbers low.”

Read the rest of the piece HERE.

6-7-2017, Mobile Electronics Magazine -- Everyone lives by their own philosophy. Some believe that their own moral compass or religious beliefs should guide every decision. Others feel all that matters is ambition and getting ahead. Still others find a mixture between those two opposites to create their own belief system.

In the field of Philosophy, there are many concepts used to shape people's personal truths. One is the concept of Absolute Truth, which requires fixed, invariable, unalterable facts in order to be true. An example of this is that there are no square circles or round squares. It's either one or the other. Of course, some people might argue the opposite simply because for them, it might be true. Therefore, in a way, any given truth is left to the determination of the individual.

One thing that you can take to the bank as a certainty, however, is that Ata Ehdaivand, owner of Absolute Electronix in Rockville, Md. is unrelenting in how he does business—which is the main reason his store is so profitable. While there's no denying that the sound strategy of having a visible location just 200 feet from the town's main road is part of the shop's winning streak, Ehdaivand believes that individuality and an intolerance for foolishness from his staff may be a larger piece of the puzzle.

"I'm very direct. I just do things the way I want to. There's no rhyme or reason. My employees don't always understand it. I don't always think the way the status quo operates. That's just me in a nutshell," Ehdaivand said. "Everybody is part of the team. The only time I really need to get involved is when things get super bad. They know the marching orders."

With over 20 years of experience under his belt, Ehdaivand has had plenty of time to perfect his method of management, especially given how it took most of those years for him to scratch his itch and open his own store. Like many in the industry, the itch began for Ehdaivand as a teenager. 

"My parents bought me an old Camry with an AM/FM radio, but no tape player. The guy behind the counter didn't understand what a deck was. He was really rude. They put the radio in my car, did a bad job, I fixed the radio," he said. Finding he had a niche, Ehdaivand began working in the industry, working his way up to manager at medium-sized chain, Meyr-Emco. "When I do something I jump in head first. I'm kind of over the edge. If I'm gonna do something, I'm addicted to it," he said.

Despite making six figures in different positions throughout his career, Ehdaivand realized he needed something more to believe in and started Absolute Electronix out of his garage in 2011. The initial work focused solely on custom builds and installation work. But the work tumbled in enough for him to hire help and eventually find the need to open his own store.

"It just got to the point where on a Saturday, I would work from nine a.m. to eight p.m. and make more in one day than I made all week. It started the wheels in my head and made me go to the next step," he said. "A friend of mine worked at a tire place. Next to it, there was a bay that no one used. He said I had to take it."

After four years in that location, the building was sold, which forced the company to move to a location with twice the size. "That's when it started to go crazy. We did 40K a month at the old location. Then 60K a month in revenue at the new location. Eventually we just ran out of space," Ehdaivand said. "A management company approached me about a new facility that was right around the corner. We moved there and went from 60 to 80K a month when we hired Del Ellis. That was really when things started to go crazy. Where we were, there were mechanic shops. There were cars everywhere."

The new location had a dedicated wood working room already in place. The store was built at the break-neck pace of one week, thanks largely to the help of the shop's staff, according to Ehdaivand. Today, the store is more profitable than ever, set to hit its highest monthly revenue ever at around 90K. Ehdaivand attributes the profitability to his staff's work ethic, customer service and the discipline to effort for continuous improvement. 

"Our shop is traditional retail with a boutique edge. It's one of those deals where we have a lot of displays. We have speakers for $100 and $5,000 on display. We have something for everyone," he said. "The goal here is to make friends. The more friends you make, the more you'll be successful. It sounds cliché, but you really just want to take care of people. They pay the bills for my daughter's gym class. Whoever it is, they work hard for their money, we just have to be there for them." 

Read the rest of the story HERE.

6-29-2017, Mobile Electronics Magazine -- Connectivity is changing our Industry faster than we know. It’s time to get in front of it.


Looking toward the future and crystal ball aside, none of us can truly say we know what tomorrow will bring. What we do know is that past trends, today’s business and new technology advancements all play a role. As an industry, we are facing challenges to find good people, integrate into newer automobiles and overcome ever shrinking margins with competition from growing online sales.

I have been both encouraged and distressed as I listen to retailers across this land. Some are stating signs of recovery while others continue to struggle. Some have hope of recovery, while others are awaiting the other boot to drop. Their statements, coupled with news of some key regional and national chains closing shop and others scaling back their interest seem to point to an opportunity for some market share growth for the independent specialist. However, outside of market share growth, our economy still appears to have some potholes on the road to recovery. As an industry of retailers with strong ties to the automotive industry, we also need to be real about our future prospects and plan accordingly.


Significant Factors

Now that I have you thinking, let’s look at the factors that are affecting the mobile electronics industry. Sales of new automobiles are up, but the last quarter was down year-over-year. There is also a focus toward self-driving vehicles that leaves our industry unsure of the future for upgrading the automobile. The consumer electronics market is booming albeit online, while leaving many brick-and-mortar retailers behind.

Our core categories for mobile electronics traditional are audio, video, security, convenience and the emerging category of safety. What is new for these categories is that they are or soon will be connected to the cloud. This connection is part of a much larger category that is referred to as Internet of Things (IoT).

When it comes to lifestyle-based technology, consumers are flocking to anything in the “connected” realm. These are products communicating with each other and allow them to efficiently network, communicate and explore the world around them. This shift to IoT delivers the consumer seamless connectivity and opens a plethora of new opportunities. When looking at the IoT market, the automobile becomes just another room in the house. This new room will require installation services as these devices become mainstream in the automobile.


What It Takes

What does it take to get known as the “IoT Installation Specialist” in your area? An understanding of what challenges the consumer has when using these products in the automobile and an awareness of where and how to communicate with these consumers. You can start by looking at the big picture of products related to IoT and how they interact with the automobile and the consumer. Our industry is well positioned to innovate and deliver products and services that speak to, and satisfy the lifestyle demands of the IoT consumer looking for seamless connections of their devices regardless of where they are or what they are doing.

This new IoT opportunity may require a shift in your advertising and presentation to become a driving force for business in your store. Let’s face it, we are dependent on the automotive industry. To become less dependent we should look at ways to diversify and IoT could very well be that way!


Research the Category

To research this emerging category, you need go no further than your own store. Assuming you or your staff use products in this technology category, think about what you would like to be able to do with these connected products in the automobile. Take that knowledge and look for products that meet the challenge. If the idea you have does not exist, let your suppliers know. Your conclusion may provide a nice source of revenue for the future.

Next, take a field trip to places that sell IoT products. Your first tip only requires a web browser. Go to This is a website created by Samsung that has a plethora of products. Take a few minutes review all the IoT products that are available. Then think about how this relates to products for the automobile. Amazon’s Alexa is a good example of what could become a great aftermarket IoT opportunity. You may be surprised at how many consumers have no idea of the experience you are able to create for them in this emerging category.


Our passion as an industry is built around technology and the automobile. This is what we do. Our lack of a plausible alternative may be a cause for concern and even leave you perplexed and rather anxious. However, it may allow you to begin the process of analyzing options for the future like becoming an IoT Installation Specialist.


Read this in the digital magazine HERE.


12-volt expert Joey Knapp discusses the finer points of metal work and how anyone can master an often under-utilized aspect of 12-volt craftsmanship. 

Mobile Electronics, March Issue, 3-30-2016 -- In the last edition of Tech Today, we looked at an amplifier installation. The installation was a little different because the amplifier was installed onto the roll cage of a car. In order to address the parameters of the build, which specified that it needed to be securely mounted, not too heavy, and minimalistic, I chose to make the amplifier-mounting frame out of metal. It is very common to use wood as a substrate to mount amplifiers to. I think everyone who has ever installed, for even a short amount of time, has installed an amplifier on some sort of wood. Wood is not always the best choice. In the case of the amplifier-mounting frame for the roll cage, it wasn’t a possibility. A wooden frame, in that instance, would be either too bulky, or not strong enough. That is why metal was chosen to construct the frame. In that article I mentioned an upcoming article on using metal in installations, and here we are!

Many, many years ago, I remember reading an article about one of the more prominent car audio shops of the time in one of the popular car audio magazines. The article talked about the facility, the sales staff and the fabrication team. The fabrication team consisted of specialists in the areas of fiberglass, plastic, wood and metal. As a teenager just getting his feet wet in the car audio industry, I wondered what area I would end up being a specialist in. Was I going to be a wizard of fiberglass? Would I become a master carpenter? Would fiberglass be the medium that suited me best? Would I become skilled in metalwork? The answer was that I would have to become all these things, and more. During the “car audio heyday” it might have been possible to specialize in one area, but from my experience, those days are far behind us. Now, to be successful, we have to be masters of all of those abilities and many, many more.

This article is intended to help those of you who aren’t familiar with metal work to get a cursory look at metal, what it's like to work with it, and the practical applications for it in the field of mobile electronics. It is very important to note that I am not a “metal master”. I am a guy who has learned what he needs to know about metalworking to get him to the point that it can be successfully used to make things. Many of you might have seen the welding meme floating around the Internet with the little boy. It reads, “My dad says using a grinder to make a weld look good makes you a ‘grinder,’ not a welder”. That could be an accurate description for me. I have some welds that look great, and some that aren’t as attractive. I make sure all of them are suitable for the project’s needs, though. It seems that the majority of the things that are welded in our field have something attached to them, so even pretty welds would need to be ground down, most of the time.

If you are a fabricator who has yet to begin his or her journey with metal fabrication, hopefully you are anxiously reading for more information. If you are a shop owner, you might possibly be thinking: “I hope my guys don’t read this and start bugging me for money to buy metal-working tools.” Hopefully not, but if so, let me share a story with you that could change your view. A few articles back, I wrote about some iPad dash overlay pieces I had been building for a credit card company. We have built a number of them, and it turned into a welcomed, yet unexpected, source of income. The opportunity to build those all came from a job that required welding. Another large corporation had contacted us about building a freestanding display, which would require a very sturdy frame to support the weight of the display. The scheduled time for the project was very short, which would dictate all of the work would need to be done in-house. Had I not had the tools and ability to weld, we would not have been able to take that job. In turn, we would have not gotten the additional iPad overlay jobs either. So, I encourage both owner and fabricator to make the move to add this very valuable skill to your arsenal.

Let’s look at some of the benefits that metal fabrication can bring to the realm of mobile electronics. I am going to share some of the different projects which I have incorporated metalworking into. These are just a few examples to let you see how beneficial metalworking can be. 

To read the rest of the article, visit the digital issue HERE.

After a well-received but loosely attended first year, KnowledgeFest Spring Training has become a rousing success in its second, shattering its previous attendance and adding more vendors to help train dealers on new products for the coming selling seasons.  

5-1-2016, Mobile Electronics, May 2016 Issue -- Sometimes in life, you need a trial run. You get an idea, try it out and learn from it to improve for next time. Such was the case for KnowledgeFest Spring Training when it was first introduced to the 12-volt industry in April 2015. Since then, the show-runners at Mobile Electronics Group have listened to their audience and made adjustments to craft an experience worthy of the precedent that its namesake event set in Dallas.

In its first year, the event drew around 350 attendees and had a turn-out that was below expectations for its Mobile Electronics show, where industry manufacturers set up booths to mingle with current and future dealers. This year, the three-day event which took place April eighth to April 10 at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, Ind., drew over 750 retailers and 40 manufacturers. In comparison, KnowledgeFest in Dallas has drawn around 1,000 retailers on average each year.

The event featured three elements for retailers to take part in: educational seminars, taught by various experts in and around the industry, manufacturer trainings and the Mobile Electronics Show, where manufacturers set up booths to showcase the latest products and mingle with attendees. The latter represents what the event has become since its inception—an opportunity for networking between everyone in the industry, to share ideas and help progress the industry as a whole.

"We are extremely pleased with the turnout of the event," said Chris Cook, Mobile Electronics Group president. "We had a steady presence of retailers during exhibit floor hours and workshop attendance was strong. Exhibitors we've spoken to are pleased with the traffic they received, both in their booths and their individual product training workshops. In fact, onsite we received strong commitments from exhibitors to come back to Indy next year."

The seminars and trainings were housed in eight meeting rooms that rotated throughout the show. Attendees received peer-based instruction, tips and advice through 18 workshops segmented for owners and managers, sales professionals and installation technicians.

Exhibitors hosted 40 workshops to focus on brand-specific instruction, with most opening their workshops to prospective and current authorized retailers. On the last day of the event, the exhibit floor hours were moved to the morning and educational workshops finished off the day, resulting in more face time between manufacturers and attendees. 

Check out the rest of the story by Clicking HERE

Mobile Electronics, May Issue, Real World Retail, May 1, 2016 -- In any given field, knowledge is power. The more you know, the more power you have to serve and influence others. Such was true of many people throughout history.

Leonardo Da Vinci was a man of great fame during the late 1400s. He was a painter, sculptor, musician, mathematician, inventor, writer and astronomer, among other talents. Many historians refer to Da Vinci as the prime example of a "Universal Genius," otherwise known as a "Renaissance Man."

Another example that fits this description is U.S. founding father Benjamin Franklin, credited with discovering electricity, inventing the bi-focal and co-writing the declaration of independence, among other achievements.

While it's most common for so-called "geniuses" to receive this title, a "Renaissance Man" can be found in most professions, with successful men and women who develop knowledge in multiple areas in an attempt to achieve greatness. Such is true for JC Motorsports, a one-stop-shop specializing not only in 12-volt products and services, but aftermarket automotive services as well.

After concluding its first year of sales with gross of $300,000, JC Motorsports followed the path it set forth by continuing to sell both 12-volt products—like car stereos, amps and speakers—and automotive products typically sold at maintenance shops like truck accessories, tires, wheels and lift kits. The shop also provides window tinting and graphic wrap services, which can produce high profit margins.

Today, the store generates $1.5 million in sales annually, despite being located in a region that's seen dramatic business changes in recent years. Operating out of Egg Harbor City, N.J., only about a half-hour drive away from Atlantic City, JC Motorsports has had to overcome the hurdle of a fluctuating economy due to the problems associated with casino closures. Not to mention the $2 billion dollar resort that recently closed due to bankruptcy, after only being open for two years.

Thanks to strong remote start sales on the 12-volt side, and an effective combination of aftermarket automotive offerings, the company has grown its staff to eight employees (six full-time, two part-time) and a building that owner Joe Chiarolanza (JC), built from the ground up with 7,200 square feet of space (6,000 of that dedicated to the installation bay, which can house up to 12 vehicles at once).

By pushing its company slogan, "If you want it, we got it!" the shop attracts a fair amount of its customers through strong radio advertising and word-of-mouth. Although walk-ins are welcome, the shop books the majority of its business by scheduling appointments. Located next to highway 30, which sees around 12,000 vehicles pass by per day, the store has its fair share of walk-in traffic as well.

Despite the effectiveness of his operation, JC can't claim to have always had it all figured out. That's especially true given the state in which he left his parents’ car after attempting his first install. 

Read the rest of the story CLICK HERE

North Andover, MA – October 16, 2019 – Kerry Moyer, MEA’s vice president of strategic partnerships, has announced he is retiring from MEA. Prior to joining MEA’s senior management team in 2014, Moyer worked with the Consumer Electronics Association (now CTA) and earlier in his career was a partner in a chain of audio-video-mobile electronics stores local to the Washington, DC-area.
Since joining the MEA team, Moyer increased revenue by developing innovative partnership programs for manufacturer members exhibiting at KnowledgeFest. Moyer was instrumental in engaging and supporting new partners and helped launch additional KnowledgeFest events (Indianapolis, Long Beach and soon in Orlando) making KnowledgeFest a national education conference and trade show event.
“I will miss working with my friend and colleague,” said Chris Cook, president, MEA. “We’ve spent many years together in this industry, and I will miss Kerry’s insight and advice. Many times, he added a voice of reason. Kerry has always brought integrity and customer service to his sales relationships.”
“I have been blessed to work in this industry in jobs that I loved. After 43 years and three careers, I’m going to work on my ‘retirement’ and carry-on with my consulting business. I won’t be sitting still. I plan on cycling and traveling, and I’ll always be on the lookout for new challenges and opportunities.”
MEA will be launching a new more-simplified partnership program for 2020 allowing manufacturer members to customize an offering to meet their marketing, education and budget needs. Chris Cook will be leading the new enterprise program efforts and Kerry Moyer will remain with MEA to provide consultation and support during the transition. 
Upcoming KnowledgeFest events:
  • February 7-9, 2020 - Long Beach, CA
  • March 27-29, 2020 - Indianapolis, IN
  • ·May 15-17, 2020 - Orlando, FL
  • August 14-16, 2020, 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
Media Contact:
Jenni Moyer
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

In the February issue of Mobile Electronics, we mistakenly ran the wrong information with regard to the Scosche MagicMount Charge product information on page 32 of the New Products section. The MSRP reads $599.99 and is actually $59.99, subject to change once released. The shipping date reads March 2017, but is currently TBD according to the company. 

Also, at the bottom of the same page, the MagicMount Charge product image was used for the Voxx Electronics CarLink BT Long Range Transmitter product information. 

We apologize for the errors. Please take note of the above corrections when seeking further information on those products. 

Winners are semifinalists for 2019 Industry Awards winners in each category

LONG BEACH CALIF., June 19, 2019 (MEDIAWIRE) – Mobile Electronics magazine announced the winners of the first phase of its annual Mobile Electronics Industry Awards. The Top 50 Retailers, Top 50 Installers and Top 20 Sales pros recognition were awarded to nominees whose entries scored highest as judged by Mobile Electronics magazine editorial staff and their assignees. The complete list of winners can be seen at
Held annually, The Mobile Electronics Industry Awards recognize the stores, brands and individuals that represent the best of the mobile electronics industry. Self-nominations are judged to select semifinalists, and industry members vote to narrow the categories down to finalists. Select categories then submit materials for judging while others are determined by industry votes. All winners are announced at a special awards ceremony, held the last day of the KnowledgeFest education conference and tradeshow in Dallas. This year’s Industry Awards celebration will take place on August 11, 2019.

“We were very pleased with the quality of nominee video submissions this year,” said Solomon Daniels, editor-in-chief of Mobile Electronics magazine. “Not only has the production value grown, but nominees demonstrated a higher awareness of the circumstances that affect their businesses as well as how they as individuals have grown. It made for a grueling judging process that took longer than we anticipated, but we were happy to take the additional time.”

Voting for the second phase of the Industry Awards begins June 20. For more information, please visit

Auburn Hills, Mich. (Feb. 8, 2023) – Mobile Electronics recognized Alps Alpine North America, Inc. as the 2023 Vendor of the Year during the Annual Industry Awards ceremony at the Paris Hotel & Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada on Sunday, February 5th. This is the first time Alps Alpine has received the award.

“We are honored to accept the 2023 Vendor of the Year Award and appreciate the opportunity to be recognized by our fellow industry members,” said Mike Anderson, Executive Director at Alps Alpine North America, Inc. “We strive to provide the highest level of products and service to our retailers and will continue to support the industry with the same level of dedication in the years to come.”

The Mobile Electronics Industry Awards recognize the top retailers, installers, and sales professionals, as well as the top suppliers, rep and rep firms, distributors, expeditors, and vendors, that best exemplify the highest standards of professionalism, business ethics, service, and expertise in the mobile electronics industry.

Alps Alpine Co., Ltd., a leading manufacturer of electronic components and automotive infotainment systems, has brought the world numerous “First 1” and “Number 1” products since its founding in 1948. The Alps Alpine Group currently operates 110 bases in 26 countries and regions, supplying roughly 40,000 different products and solutions to around 2,000 companies worldwide. Those offerings include devices such as switches, sensors, data communication modules, touch input panels, actuators and power inductors; electronic shifters, remote keyless entry systems and other automotive units; consumer electronics like car navigation and audio-visual systems; and systems and services such as digital keys based on smartphone app and blockchain technology, and remote monitoring.

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


Alps Alpine North America Media Contact  

Allison Saunders   

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(586) 719-8966

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11-1-2016, Mobile Electronics November Issue -- Las Vegas has many names. The City That Never Sleeps, City of Lights, Disneyland for adults and Sin City top the list. But today, it has a dual identity. By night, it's an adult playground. By day, a resort destination where millions of families flock each year to experience its gorgeous pools, lavish buffets, shows for different ages and theme park attraction rides like the roller coaster at New York, New York. One could say, the city has something for everyone.

In that spirit, the same can be said of Industry Auto Designs Las Vegas, a destination for auto enthusiasts looking to both repair and enhance their vehicles, all at once. For owner Andrew Evens, creating a one-stop-shop came naturally, given his background as a born wrench monkey.

"Since I was a kid, I've always had tools in my hand. My dad worked in a body shop. He would always bring home stuff to tinker with. I had a carburetor as a toy. I remember the springs on it," Evens said. "My mom's father was always into wood working and would build stuff for the county fair. Whenever we went to his house as kids, we were always painting something. It's like Karate Kid. You don't realize why you're doing it at the time but looking back, you realize how much you learned as a kid. I was lucky enough to have those two influences to set my path."

As Evens got older, he worked with his dad at the body shop to earn an allowance. His work focused on wiring, replacing things like harnesses. "Come high school time, my friends were really happy because I had a shop to work out of and would do their stuff on the side," Evens added. "When I was about 14, I was putting in radios and wiring cars. I would charge them and get rides to school out of it. I was always the one negotiating to get a ride the next morning, to avoid taking the bus. It was always good side money."

Having what he called "normal retail jobs" as a teenager didn't stop Evens from continuing to learn anything and everything automotive when he could. For the duration of high school, Evens's dad, Mike, owned a body shop that allowed him to continue his education. At the age of 15, Evens bought his first car thanks to a wholesale deal with local dealer Premier Audio, which would soon take on Evens as his apprentice. While there, Evens learned both through wiring books and by installing remote starts and car alarms. "That came on pretty easy and I was pretty much running his shop," Evens said.

After high school, Evens attended ITT Technical Institute in Williamsville, N.Y., looking to learn the trade of computer drafting and design given his love of the structural engineering concept. "I took every course there was to take. I took drafting and residential structures and a bunch of the engineering courses. I took everything I could take technology-wise," Evens said. "I liked drawing, electrical schematics and computers at the time. The problem is that most of those job offerings were 11 bucks an hour. I was already making $40 to $50,000 as an installer. So I went mainstream doing car audio full time."

Evens began working at Stereo Advantage in Williamsville, spending four years picking up as much 12-volt knowledge as he could. After his stint there, he became store manager at Circuit City, but didn't last given the lack of excitement he experienced.

"That was kind of boring to me. All the radios had harnesses. There was not a lot of actual installing there," he said. "It was good money. But they started to close down stores because they paid too well."

By 2004, Evens had the itch to move. He thought about a place that was warm and would give him a fresh start. Las Vegas sprang to mind. "Everything was built out here, it was sunny with palm trees," Evens said. So he rented out his house in New York, moved to Vegas and took a job as an install manager at Audio Excellence. After about eight months, Evens had a reputation in town, given that as an automotive community, Las Vegas is quite small. He did more research, landed at VIP Motoring, a high-end retailer and was able to fulfill his desire for large custom builds. But that too wouldn't last.

Once the housing market crashed, Evens found himself out of work. He became a union bartender in the nightclub scene. But he never forgot his roots, always keeping his tools close by to take on jobs whenever they arose. Soon enough, 2009 came, the market began to recover and Evens got that familiar itch again.

"I made a lot of money in the nightclub, but woke up one morning and said I didn't want to be around a bunch of drunk people anymore. I realized that these people have disposable income. They're about flash, buying the newest car out there. I decided it was a good idea to follow my passion," Evens said. "I took a month off from all work, found a spot with 1,200 square feet of space and opened my store." But there was much more to it than that.

Read the rest of the story HERE. 

10-19-2016, Mobile Electronics -- You're an independent retailer. Your staff of three operates a small but profitable shop in your middle-class community. The work is good but so far there've been no jobs that have overwhelmed you or taken your attention away from your regular duties of installing speakers, decks, amps and the like. That is, until now.

Does this scenario sound familiar? If so, know that you aren't the only one to deal with it. Rob Paterson, co-owner of 2016 Top 50 Retailer, Sound Auto, in Hamilton, N.J. experienced it first-hand when a client brought in his RV in the hopes of adding a few extra bells and whistles to spice up his weekend joy ride. Several visits and thousands of dollars later, the job was done and the small, three-man operation had won over the client, created a memorable build and managed to balance the massive, two-year job with the rest of their workload. That begs the question: How did they do it? The answer: Very carefully.

Randy Lumia had the idea of getting a few upgrades done on his 28-foot RV. The client arrived on a Saturday and asked about technology, amenities and items that could give him bragging rights during fishing and camping trips with friends, effectively creating a "Man Cave On Wheels."

"We have 14-foot-high bay doors as part of a 3,000 square foot facility. 90 percent of it is bay space; we had 12 cars in here at one point," Paterson said. "Without the ability to have this thing inside, I never would have taken this job."

The sales staff discussed a variety of upgrade options while Lumia stressed the importance of leaving room for future upgrades as the budget would allow. After about an hour or so, he drove off and the salesman was left to contemplate possibilities for the camper. A couple weeks went by before the customer's return. During that time, he had the A/C unit replaced, a new generator installed, found an interior person and ordered all of the materials, installed new wheels, tires and brakes. From that point on, it was clear to Paterson and his two-man crew that this would be a serious project.

"You've got to step back and get the larger idea. With a large job like this, if it's not done in 20 baby steps, you've got a hot mess," Paterson said. "You've got 20 lines going to the battery. But if you plan it at the offset, you can plan a power distribution set up. Plan four steps ahead. Get an accurate idea of what the scope is."

Although the practice of properly planning for a big job is something Paterson is accustomed to, the same can't be said of all retailers, who face different issues as large projects come in.

The Start of Something Big

With over 33 years of experience working for companies like Alpine Electronics, VOXX Electronics and now, president and chief technology evangelist of American Road Products, Steve Witt brings a plethora of information with him on all aspects of mobile electronics. But since his current company sells safety products like backup sensors and collision avoidance products, which are installed by a partner company he works with called Premiere Services, Witt is well-versed on what it takes for retailers to handle large-scale projects like fleet builds and large vehicle installs.

"To find and prepare for a big job, whether it be a single vehicle or fleet of vehicles, there are multiple steps a retailer should follow. First, plan the scope of work with your team. That includes getting the complete custom requirements on paper, assigning tasks to the most appropriate employee based on knowhow and creating a task management timeline. That can be something as simple as a whiteboard in the install bay. It doesn't have to be a big document with charts," Witt said. "Then, brief the customer with that plan because what will happen is once you regurgitate to the customer additional needs, requirements or wants could come out that could increase the sale."

As it turns out, that's just what happened to Paterson, albeit in a more scattered timeline. The build took place in several stages, which were planned one step at a time, considering neither the shop nor the customer knew there would be more than one stage. The first stage of the build consisted of upgrading the windows and door locks from manual to electric. The team also added a radar detector, alarm, remote start, a Morel GPS, a JL Audio XD three-channel amplifier and Pinnacle Baby Boomer subwoofer (which pulled double duty for both the front end and lounge areas). The bunk area was equipped with two 32-inch TVs on swing-out arms, an Onkyo eight-channel receiver, Blu-ray player, sound bar and surround speakers. A 19-inch TV and speakers were installed in the rear bedroom to round out the entertainment center aspect of the build.

Getting the customer to sign off on the plan was easy for Paterson given his extensive experience, customer rapport, and the customer having done his research online prior to seeking Paterson out. Once the first phase was complete, the customer was billed on that work and the job was seemingly done—or so they thought.

Read the rest of the feature HERE.

Becoming fulfilled in life meant a willingness to take risks and learn as much as possible for David Phillips, owner of The Sound Shop in Indian Trail, N.C. After working at several shops, including a big box giant, Phillips chose the hard road and found himself through the path of entrepreneurship. 

Mobile Electronics April Issue, 4/1/2016 -- Finding one's path in life is a goal most people hope to achieve. The sad truth is that many fail. Either they succumb to fear and choose the easy route or follow the wrong path, not clearly seeing the difference between that path and the one that will best fit them. For David Phillips, owner of The Sound Shop in Indian Trail, N.C., the path to finding his life's fulfillment was more like a roundabout.  

Starting out like many others in car audio, Phillips' passion began in high school when a friend introduced him to the field. After hanging out with his friend at events, he decided to join in and start doing his own builds. His lack of money didn't stop him from finding a way to build box enclosures and perform installs for friends throughout high school.

Once he reached college, Phillips worked part-time at a local 12-volt shop in Charlotte, N.C. "It was one of those places I started working but saw everything was wrong and learned what not to do," he said.

Soon enough, his time in college lingered without a true focus. Starting out as a graphic design major, Phillips eventually landed on business management, graduating with a bachelor's degree that took eight years to achieve.

"While still in college, I got a job at a high-end shop called Circuit Werks in Monroe, N.C. I went with a customer of mine to get parts for an install. They noticed how knowledgeable I was and offered me a chance at a job," Phillips said. "I had to compete with another candidate in a two-week trial but eventually got the job. I started in 2003 and worked there for five years doing things like alarms, remote starts and custom work."

According to Phillips, many of his fabrication ideas were developed from reading various car magazines like Euro Low Rider and Mini Truckin'. Some of his custom work included paneling trunks and building amp racks. The shop then started doing vinyl graphics and striping police cars, eventually becoming the only work Phillips did there for his last six months. Wanting to have more variety, and make more money, Phillips hit up a friend who worked at a local Ford dealership. He soon left to work at the dealership as an automotive technician, but realized quickly he had made a mistake.

"I didn't like being greasy all the time. I wasn't into diagnosing problems. I did it for a year to try it out," Phillips said. "During that time, I racked up credit card debt and needed a part-time job to get out of debt. I went to a shopping center and dropped off résumés at several places, including a Best Buy. They called me in to work there part-time, then they offered me a full-time position to run bay."

For the next four years, Phillips would run the installation bay at Best Buy, doing mostly stock installations of car audio equipment. There was no fabrication work, no vinyl graphics work. There was also no fun.   

"Most people's careers go opposite of that. When I went backwards to Best Buy, it was kind of easy. Deck and floor all day, speakers and radios, subs once in a while. At first I was excited because it was easy, but it wasn't very fulfilling. That Best Buy was part of budget cuts across the country and was closed. After that, I decided it was time to open my own shop."

To read the rest of the story, click HERE

11-9-2016, Mobile Electronics -- Every now and then a build will come in to a shop that plants major seeds for the future. That scenario happened for Chris Hilbert and his shop, Sound Decisions, out of Racine, Wisc. After completing a stealth box build for a client, he returned with a bigger job. That client was Master Sergeant Chris Moore of the 347th Air Force recruiting squadron out of Oak Creek, Wisc.; the job was to turn a 2014 Ford Expedition into a recruiting tool for the Air Force. According to Hilbert, it's working.

"Moore has trucks similar to that in Texas and had great success with that. He was really happy. He asked us for estimates and went with it," Hilbert said. "It needed to be loud, visible on the outside and have lots of lights. The truck got tons of exposure at Oshkosh. The biggest thing was to get them more recruiting. Chris gets paid commission for the more people he signs up for the Air Force. He said this has made his job incredibly easy."

But the job was anything but easy for Hilbert and his team, comprised of installers Ian Glacio and Dave Northart. Due to the truck being leased, anything installed had to be easily removable once the lease ended. The build included a 20-inch flat panel screen and Xbox that were supplied by the Air Force. Audio equipment included one JL Audio XD1000/5v2 amplifier, four JL Audio 12-inch subwoofers, one JL Audio MM100S (marine control center) and two JL Audio MX650-CCX-SG-TLD-B component coaxial systems. Stinger, Compustar, iDatalink and Cobra rounded out the mix with various accessory products. Overall, the build took 10 days to complete.

Although creating a custom build that is easily removable is a rare feat for the shop, they were well prepared thanks to their previous training with Sonus, learning techniques that would come in handy with this and other builds.

"I paid for my guys to go through training at Sonus two years ago. They implemented lots of techniques from that in this truck. There's fiberglass in the rear panels where the speakers are. Two screws hold each one of those panels in place completely. Using what we have there, it's easy to come out if we have to work on it," Hilbert said. "We knew the Xbox had problems with overheating, that's why we made mesh compartments so it doesn't overheat. They say they've run the system for as long as 12 hours without having to start the vehicle. Being in the back of the truck, it's important so you don't gas people out when they are playing the game."

Since completing the job, Hilbert posted the job on the store's social media pages and website to attract attention. It worked. "Because of the pictures we sent, a store in Nebraska inquired to us about what we did and how we did it. I know the store in Nebraska saw all the same work we did and was asked by the recruitment office there, too. I posted this to our MESA forum where dealers actively search for this business," Hilbert added. "This is something that can be done any time. They need to go to events, they need to attract young people, which are our 12-volt clients anyway. Keep in mind [the military] have funds for this type of work." 

Read the rest of the story HERE. 

Nominations will open for select retail performance and vendor awards

NORTH ANDOVER, MASS., May 9, 2018 (MEDIAWIRE) – Mobile Electronics® magazine, the industry's premier trade publication, announced it will kick off the first phase of the Mobile Electronics Industry Awards on May 16. At that time, the publication will begin accepting nominations for several retail performance awards, as well as awards for vendors, rep firms, distributors and expeditors. Nominations for Retailer of the Year, Installer of the Year, Salesperson of the Year and Trusted tech will begin later.

The split nomination process is a change from last year, in which all awards began nominations simultaneously. The new format will attract a higher number of participants and enable candidates to focus on creating quality submissions.

"It's no secret that our Retailer of the Year and Installer of the Year awards garner the most attention during the awards process," said Solomon Daniels, editor-in-chief of Mobile Electronics and awards coordinator. "But we know there are quality stores, companies and individuals in other categories who perform at a high level and will make excellent examples for other industry professionals to follow. We want to give these categories a spotlight of their own so that the candidates, and ultimately the winners, get the recognition they deserve."

Also new this year is a realignment of the Top Vendor awards. As product categories shift toward after-the-head-unit solutions, recreational applications and a blending of vehicle sensing and notification technology, the categories have adjusted to reflect the changes.

Held annually, the Mobile Electronics Industry Awards recognize the best of the industry. Candidate companies and individuals submit video nominations and are narrowed to a list of finalists after a selection and/or voting process. In certain award categories, finalists submit materials that are then judged by a select panel to determine a winner. In other categories, final voting tallies determine the winner. All winners are announced at a special awards ceremony, held the last day of the Mobile Electronics Association (MEA) KnowledgeFest tradeshow and conference in Dallas. This year's awards ceremony will take place August 19 at the Dallas Convention Center.

On May 16, Mobile Electronics will open nominations for the following award categories:

Retail Performance Awards

  • Most Improved Location or Chain
  • Best Online Presence
  • Best Customer Retention Program
  • Best Customer Experience
  • Best Store Culture (New for 2018)
  • Rookie of the Year

Vendor Awards

  • Distributor of the Year
  • Expeditor of the Year
  • Representative of the Year
  • Rep Firm of the Year
  • Top Vendor - Safety, Security and Driver Assistance
  • Top Vendor - Autosound and Processing
  • Top Vendor - Infotainment and Multimedia
  • Top Vendor - Powersports and Marine
  • Top Vendor - Accessories and Materials

For each award, candidates must submit a video based on the specifications listed under each award category at All video submissions are due May 28. Visit to view submission requirements and awards updates throughout the process, and sign up to the Hotwire newsletter at

Mobile Electronics strives to grow the mobile electronics industry by supporting its retailers, salespeople, technicians and manufacturers with integrated services built around the group’s 1,100-plus-member industry association, the Mobile Electronics Association™, its Mobile Electronics® magazine, KnowledgeFest® tradeshows, Partnership Program, point-of-sale system and data products. Through these offerings, Mobile Electronics delivers education, networking avenues, and business and marketing resources, and promotes partnership between retailers and manufacturers to increase sales and profits. For more information, contact Mobile Electronics at 85 Flagship Dr., Suite F, North Andover, MA, 01845, telephone: 800-949-6372, or visit

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