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9-5-2017, Mobile Electronics -- People are motivated by many things in life. Money, family and career ambition are among them. A chief ideal among many is to do the right thing. It's not always clear what that is, but for the most part, it's widely understood that doing the right thing usually requires doing something for others. Often, it's a favor. For those who believe in principles like honor, dignity and integrity, any favor given is one returned, to keep balance in the world.

Joe Cassity, owner of Tunes-N-Tint in Lakeland, Fla., believes in these principles and uses them daily to cater to the needs of customers. Whether that entails going above and beyond to help a customer in a stressful situation or by adding window tinting or specialty lighting to his business, Cassity reaps the rewards of his ever-expanding offerings through his growing list of return customers.

"We're in the customer service business, we just happen to sell X. Whether that be car audio, leather or window tint, at the end of the day customers come to us because of the experience, not the product," Cassity said. "The most important person who comes into the store is the customer."

It's no wonder Cassity developed such a strong affinity for helping his customers considering his background working for so many companies that didn't carry as strong an opinion on the subject. "From a very young age, the car stereo bug bit me. I had bought products off of JC Whitney, Pyramid Electronics and a few low-end brands. I started out as a part-time installer at Circuit City around 1999 and worked my way to a management position with them," he said. "It was one of the few places that would hire someone without professional experience. I was let go in the structure change in an early round. There was a conflict with management, which made it more than a cost-saving measure for them. It gave me an opportunity to prove myself in spite of being let go."

His disagreements with management at Circuit City led Cassity to make the fateful decision to start his own store, Alarms, Etc., a mobile installation company. Within six months, he knew he had made the right decision as the company was profitable enough to open its first retail location.

Over the course of two years, the company became a chain with two more locations, two in Lakeland, Fla. and the original remaining in Tampa. In 2009, the Tampa store was sold as a franchise store, leaving the two Lakeland locations. Finally, in 2016, Cassity decided to consolidate both Lakeland locations into a single store to better streamline operations and cut down on overhead. "It allowed us to increase some of the services we were offering and now we are a single location retailer," he added. "That location in Tampa is over 30 miles away so we're not in direct competition and still work together from time to time."

The name change from Alarms, Etc. to Tunes-N-Tint was made due to the change in product sales, mainly that window film had become such a large seller. "While security was once our bread and butter, it's not as big a part of our business as it once was. We still have a lot of customers who believe the head unit is the heart of the system," Cassity said. "As more integrated systems are hitting our store, we're seeing more need for OEM integration. Safety has also been a huge growth category for us. We were an early adopter of Mobileye and Rydeen's 360 cameras."

Part of the name change was the addition of the tagline "Automotive Restyling," which includes leather, upholstery, spray and bed liners, and truck accessories, which has been a huge growth opportunity for the store this year. "It gave us a strong focus, let us set up accounts with some of our key vendors like Keystone and Meyers to offer a wider range of products, vehicle lifts, graphics, wraps and electronics."

The overall effect of consolidating his business has allowed Cassity to focus more on improving margins through strong customer service practices, in addition to lowering risk and liability exposure through having only one store.

Read the rest of the issue HERE.

Third Gear

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

Words by Rosa Sophia

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

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

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

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