Mobile Electronics Magazine

Switch to desktop

When COVID-19 disrupted business nationwide, 2020 Sales Pro of the Year Jason Kranitz chose to transform this challenge into an opportunity.


Words by Rosa Sophia
After Kingpin University and Kingpin Car & Marine Audio moved from Oregon to Las Vegas in 2019, owner Jason Kranitz quickly booked classes. When COVID-19 hit, he had to cancel classes and refund the students. Additionally, his landlord sold the building, and with no income from the school, his focus shifted to retail.
 
While searching for a new retail location, he’s had to conduct sales and installations out of his manufacturing facility. “No one knew me, I had no showroom—just pictures of previous work—and no one could even visit me because of COVID,” he explained, adding that while the business has been down in numbers, he doesn’t have much to compare it to because of the move. However, he added, “I feel that since we’ve started, we’re growing every month.”
 
Kingpin has been named Retailer of the Year in the past—twice—and has earned other distinctions such as Best Customer Experience. Also, Kranitz has held the Installer of the Year title. Once, he submitted materials for Sales Pro of the Year and wasn’t chosen. Although he hadn’t planned to attempt it a second time, COVID changed his mind because he felt the business was already uniquely structured to handle the challenge. For the last seven years, the shop has been appointment-only with locked doors, unlike many other retail locations. Kingpin University—the education branch of the business—opened its doors five years ago.
 
Kranitz finally decided to pursue the...Read the rest of the story HERE.

9-15-2016 -- Four-star United States military general "Stormin" Norman Schwarzkopf was known for successfully driving out Saddam Hussein's Iraqi forces from Kuwait in 1991. To his troops, he was known as a man of great wisdom and leadership who believed in individual responsibility. He once said, "The truth of the matter is that you always know the right thing to do. The hard part is doing it.” Schwarzkopf's words carried beyond his troops and impacted one man in particular: Ed Weber, owner of 12-volt chain Foss Audio & Tint.

The company consists of four retail stores located in cities just South of Seattle, Wash., which include Tacoma, Kent, Tukwila and Puyallup. With 26 employees under his watch, Weber doesn't have time to babysit. Having a military background has helped him learn the value of independence, which includes following the words of Schwarzkopf when it comes to trusting his employees to know and do "the right thing" for the business. But those aren't the only words from the late general Weber found use in.

"Norman Schwarzkopf said he's so successful because he makes decisions fast. 'The enemy will spend so long but I'll make a decision so fast that I'll make the second before they've made their first,'" Weber said. "Sometimes it's better to make the wrong decision so at least you find out it was wrong faster. But it's gotta be a close debate. Sometimes the answer's obvious and simple. If it's close, just make the decision. I literally flipped a coin to decide which house I was going to buy."

While quick decisions and self-reliance are important to Weber, he also acknowledges that not just anyone has what it takes to be a leader. "We're management light. It's the hardest position of all to fill. The traditional theme of making your best performer your manager is flawed. Just because I'm a great salesperson doesn't mean I'm going to be a great manager of people," he said. "I was a good salesman so I got to be a manager, but I don't know that the two things necessarily have any correlation. I look for somebody who can help build a team."

Acoustic Intelligence

Given his knowledge of the Tao of Schwarzkopf, it's fitting that Weber spent time in the military—the Air Force, to be exact. But a military background isn't all he brings to the table as a mobile electronics expert.

"I've always been into music. I DJ'd when I was in the service. When I got out after four years, I was applying for jobs everywhere," Weber said. "I found a guy who needed someone who knew audio and I did, so I went to Smith's Home Furnishings and sold home appliances and electronics like big screen TVs, washers and dryers."

After working his way up the ladder and being promoted to manager, he moved with the shop to Florida, only to find himself out of work when the company went bankrupt a short time later. " They were sued for false advertising. It cost them over a quarter of a million dollars cash fine," Weber said. "The biggest thing I learned there was to find someone who's good at something and copy what they do. They went bankrupt right before Christmas. I went to work for the Good Guys, worked there one year then got a job as distributor rep for Pana Pacific, a long-time 12-volt distributor."

During this time, Weber was able to hone his skills as a salesman, working directly with retailers all throughout his territory in the Pacific Northwest. "I went to stores to sell product in circles until somebody said yes and they were my guy. It was challenging in the beginning because there was not a lot of income. I did pretty good there," Weber said.

Spending most of his time on the road, Weber established relationships with some of the top retailers in the country, including John Coleman, owner of Stereo King in Portland, Ore. Weber next went to work with Clarion under the tutelage of Bud Coe, who worked directly under Coleman previously, until Coleman opened Stereo King. 

"That was a whole different animal. I had what was closer to A-line structure. I was a distributor rep in a smaller line. It's different than being a factory rep," Weber said. "I started distribution with Coe. That went well. The Northwest was always a great market for Clarion."

After three years of working for Clarion, the company laid off a large number of reps, including Weber, which led him to work for Bob Oliver at Oliver Marketing. One of his clients at the firm was Foss Audio, a struggling chain that had closed two locations due to poor business. Having seen the success that Coleman had with his chain and having built up a strong knowledge base on the 12-volt industry from his time as a sales rep, Weber saw an opening.

"When their store manager called me to see if they could carry Rockford, I saw they were in Washington and the other was in Oregon. I said I had a 'friend' who wanted to buy a store. The 'friend' was me, of course," Weber said. "I thought about it for a long time. When you're a rep you have all these theories of what you want to do with a business like that, but I wanted to find out."

He made the decision to buy the business and cashed out his 401K to use as the down payment and starting funds. The first store opened on December 23, 2002. "I went in on a shoe-string budget. It makes it so much more difficult. I had to go to my former boss and get a display and assemble it myself early in the morning before the store opened," Weber said. The lack of start-up cash extended beyond displays and into product. "If I sold four items, I had to go pick up those four items before the store opened the next morning."

Despite his early struggles, Weber was able to turn a profit and eventually decided to purchase a second store in Issaquah. As the years passed, the business continued its upward trend, resulting in the expansion of three more shops. While the company currently has four shops, having lost its lease on the Issaquah location, Weber is confident they will soon be back online with the fifth shop.  

"Two months ago is when the Issaquah store closed and we're looking at new options as we speak.

That one was kind of weird. The showroom and install bay were in separate buildings but in the same parking lot," Weber said. "Things work out the way they should." 

Read the rest of the story HERE.

The Magic of Carbon Fiber

Expert installation technician Matt Schaeffer reveals how carbon fiber can change the game for even the most challenging of fabrication jobs.

Foreword by Joey Knapp

Words by Matt Schaeffer

I hope you liked our series on building a false floor. I think Bing did an excellent job breaking down the process of installing equipment into a spare tire well. For the right client, that is an excellent location to fit audio gear, and still keep the functionality of the trunk/hatch space.

In this article, we are going to be taking a look into using carbon fiber in our installations. Admittedly, I don’t know too much about carbon fiber. I recently completed an installation in which I had to machine and clear coat some carbon fiber pieces. I kind of cheated, though, and used pre-made sheets of carbon fiber. We are going to learn how to make pieces using real carbon fiber cloth.

When I decided this needed to be the next topic for an article, two people came to mind as guest authors. The first was Junior Ngim of Sound Innovations in Union City, Calif. I have always followed Junior’s work on Facebook, and was fortunate to meet him during a visit his shop a number of times when I lived in California. Junior makes a number of carbon fiber accessories for cars, and does a great job integrating carbon fiber in his installations. The second person I thought of—and the guest author of this article—is Matt Schaeffer. Like I do with Junior, I have followed Matt’s work on Facebook and Instagram for quite some time. Matt does incredible work. In addition, he makes some really great videos highlighting his work and techniques. He has one such video on laying carbon fiber. To provide insight on the subject, Matt agreed to share his steps for creating and finishing pieces in carbon fiber. Let’s see what he has to say. Click here for the full article.

NORTH ANDOVER January 17, 2017— Mobile Electronics announced that Brazilian car audio amplifier manufacturer SounDigital has joined as a Silver Partner.

“We have been talking with SounDigital since after KnowledgeFest® Dallas last August,” said Kerry Moyer, vice president, strategic partnerships, Mobile Electronics. “Now, with their American market launch, SounDigital decided it was time to join the Mobile Electronics Association as a Silver Partner. They are coming to market by selling direct to the mobile specialist, so they are a perfect fit for our membership. We are pleased to welcome SounDigital as our first partner from South America.”

About SounDigital

SounDigital is the leading Brazilian manufacturer of car audio amplifiers. Always innovating and in pursuit of the newest technologies, SounDigital is now selling in over 25 countries around the world. SounDigital is also the main company in dBDrag competition worldwide, with more than 20 world championships! For more information, contact SounDigital USA at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit www.soundigitalusa.com

About Mobile Electronics®

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 mobile-electronics.com.

North Andover, Mass., September 17, 2020 -- The Mobile Electronics Associaiton announced the last day to make your selections to recognize our best. Voting Ends Sunday, September 20, 2020!
 
It's your last chance to vote for all categories of the annual Mobile Electronics Industry Awards! Select your choices for finalists from the Top 50 Retailers, Top 50 Installers and Top 20 Sales pros, plus five retail performance categories.
 
And don't forget the Supplier Categories, Trusted Tech and Rookie of the Year!
 
 
 

Copyright - Mobile Electronics Association 2020

Top Desktop version