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This year's Mobile Electronics Industry Awards have been announced during the ceremony at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, Texas. The Installer of the Year Award was given to JT Torres of Al & Ed's Autosound in Huntington Beach, Calif. The Retailer of the Year Single Store was awarded to Perfectionist Auto Sound and Security.

Below is the complete list of winners:

Retail Awards

Installer of the Year: Juan Torres

Installer of the Year  RUNNER-UP: Matt Schaeffer

Trusted Tech: Bryan Piper

Retailer of the Year - Single Store: Perfectionist Autosound

Retailer of the Year Single Store RUNNER-UP: Musicar Northwest

Retailer of the Year Store Chain: Stereo King

Retailer of the Year Store Chain RUNNER-UP: Tint World

Career Achievement Award: David “Fishman” Rivera

Rookie of the Year: Tyler Clemence

Most Improved: Auto Trim Design of Amarillo

Best Online Presence: Cartronix

Best Customer Retention Program: Handcrafted Car Audio

Best Store Presentation: Tunes-N-Tint

Vendor Awards

Vendor of the Year: Orca Design & Manufacturing

Expeditor of the Year: American Radio

Distributor of the Year AUTO: DOW Electronics

Representative of the Year: Andy Adkins

Rep Firm of the Year: Marketing Pros

Top Vendor AUTOSOUND & VIDEO: Orca Design & Manufacturing

Top Vendor ACCESSORIES & MATERIALS: Metra Electronics


Top Vendor SAFETY & RETENTION: Firstech



Mobile electronics manufacturers succeed or fail based upon their understanding of the market as well as the quality of their retailer relationships, and here is where all manufacturers can improve their game. Just when you think you have a handle on what it takes to succeed, a more careful examination proves that you have much to learn. 

I gained a lot of insight after reviewing and judging the Top 12 retailers in this year’s Retailer of the Year (ROTY) Award. In no particular order, I will share with you five lessons that every manufacturer should learn and understand from the Top 12:

1. The best retailers don’t rely on gimmicks to grow their business

The Top 12 retailers all had very straightforward approaches to earning the business of their customers, starting with an honest assessment of what products and services are offered and how each retailer possesses true differentiation from other retailers.  No “fake deals,” and few, if any, giveaways.  Manufacturers need to collaborate better with their best dealers and understand that broad-based, one-size-fits-all promotions will not necessarily work with specialist retailers.  Having a flexible, customized approach will earn more of the specialists’ business. 

2. The best retailers have commanded the art of the demonstration

These Top 12 retailers have system demonstration capabilities that are interactive, compelling, informative and convincing.  Many of these retailers utilize a system-selling approach which intentionally narrows down selection but offers the customer plenty of product choices while showing how installation craftsmanship makes the difference in performance and longevity.  We already know that the use of video displays is opportunity to showcase installation capabilities and other services, and some of these retailers took that to the highest level by using Apple TV and other tech solutions to pipe in photos, music and video content to create just the right in-store environment and to tell their complete story. 

3. The best retailers do more than car stereos

I’m sure this was born out of necessity, as traditional electronics product margins and ASP’s declined.  But most of the Top 12 retailers have successfully broadened their business into automotive accessories, fabrication, customization and detailing.  This bumper-to-bumper approach provides their customers with more reasons to spend their money with them. This takes a lot of commitment and risk; you can’t specialize in everything, right? But with careful assessment of their markets, the Top 12 retailers chose the right diversification strategies and most seem to be working well. Not all business extensions are successful, and a few of the Top 12 retailers were quick to make the necessary corrections with minimal pain. Manufacturers should pay attention to each retailer’s complete business strategy, find out what other revenue areas are succeeding and figure out creative ways to support those areas. 

4. The best retailers train their people, even if the manufacturers won’t

Manufacturer training is an area that has been on the decline for over a decade, with in-person training and instruction being replaced by online services and other hands-off methods. The trend is still troubling, however the Top 12 retailers are not sitting on their hands. They have all adopted training programs of their own alongside of industry training, with most of them embracing MECP.  The unspoken attitude here is that training your staff makes them more valuable, far beyond the direct or indirect expense of the training itself. Those vendors that offer informative, in-person training in addition to online resources ought to be strongly supported by specialist retailers – clearly these vendors have your long-term best interest in mind. Vendors that have decided to pull back on training as a cost cutting measure should reconsider or accept less business support. 

5. The best retailers know customers better than anyone else

Many of us career-long manufacturer members typically think that we know the mobile electronics consumer as well as any of our dealers…but in reality we don’t. Even after years of dealer roundtables, traveling through every market and having long conversations over too many beers, there are things we can learn about the end-user and what it takes to win their business. The Top 12 are in constant contact with their customers and have developed relationship-building skills that keep those customers for years (in some cases, multi-generational). It was impressive to see the community outreach, charity activities and local event participation.  Here is where manufacturers can take more of an interest; there might not be a short term buy-in opportunity but supporting these efforts can deepen their dealer relationships and create an appreciation that will be rewarded over time. 

Being part of the industry’s Top 12 retailers is a huge honor, and it doesn't happen without commitment, passion, constant learning, professionalism, relationship building, collaboration and reinvention. The Top 12 retailers are representative of all that is good in the mobile electronics industry – a love of music, craftsmanship and a job done extremely well. It is clear that a consumer visiting any of these fine retailers will have a great experience, learn a lot they didn’t know, and make some new friends. 

Keith Lehmann is a 30-year veteran of the consumer electronics industry, with executive experience in sales, marketing, technology and corporate management. Lehmann was most recently Executive Vice President of Kenwood USA Corporation, in charge of the company’s consumer electronics sector for over ten years. Today, Lehmann is a consumer electronics industry consultant as well as Managing Director of the Connected Car Council ( 

Mobile Electronics Magazine Announces Industry Awards Top 50
Award recipients from the U.S. and Canada move on to compete for the Top 12

NORTH ANDOVER, MASS. – May 12, 2016 – Mobile Electronics magazine today announced the Top 50 Retailers, sponsored by Sony, and the Top 50 Installers, sponsored by K40 Electronics. The Top 50 award is the first component of the magazine’s annual Industry Awards competition. Recipients of this award have the honor of being considered the premier mobile electronics retail outlets and installation technicians in the U.S. and Canada, according to the magazine.

“As magazine editor, you get to see how hard these individuals work to perfect their craft and present themselves as problem solvers and dream fulfillers,” said Solomon Daniels, editor-in chief of Mobile Electronics and awards administrator. “In turn, the retail stores have become the authority on vehicle-specific solutions for autosound enhancement, security and safety. I’m very proud to announce these awards and present certificates to the winners.”

In addition to the Top 50, award recipients are eligible to compete for the next phase of the Industry Awards, which through industry and consumer voting narrows the list to 12 retail and installation finalists. The “Top 12” would then submit judging materials to be considered for Retailer of the Year and Installer of the Year. These final awards will be announced at the Mobile Electronics Industry Awards celebration during the KnowledgeFest trade show and conference in Dallas, August 20-22. For more information, visit

Top 50 Installers
sponsored by 

K40 Logo Awards

Tim Baillie – HzEmall – Surrey, BC

Barry Barth – Prestige Car Audio & Marine – Metairie, LA

Charles Brazil – First Coast Auto Creations – Jacksonville, FL

John Cage – Spokane Audio Video Experts – Greenacres, WA

Jeff Cantrell – JC Audio – Jackson, TN

TJ Carlson – Kingpin Car & Marine Audio – Wilsonville, OR

Dan Castro – The Car Audio Shop – High Ridge, MO

Steve Coogle – Discount Audio – Louisville, KY

Matt Cropper – Stereo King – Portland, OR

David Cruz – Soundscape Car Audio – Plano, TX

B.J. Curcio – After FX Customs – Stamford, CT

Daniel DiCampli – Windward Audio – Kaneohe, HI

Brandon Douglas – Adrenaline Autosound – Clayton, NC

Andrew Emelander – GNC Customs – Goshen, IN

Andrew Evens – Industry Auto Designs – Las Vegas, NV

Nicholas Frazier – Innovative Concepts – West Springfield, MA

Aaron Garcia – Perfectionist Auto Sound and Security – Anchorage, AK

Brandon Green – The Car Audio Shop – High Ridge, MO

Alan Hogan – Baileys Audio – Lake Charles, LA

David Kosakowski – Total image – McKees Rocks, PA

Brent Leavitt – Low Notes Garage – Boise, ID

Sam Lee – Audio Xcellence – City of Industry, CA

Dan Macilwain – Sound Advantage – Rochester, MI

Erick Markland – Markland Designs – Lithonia, GA

Aaron Markwell – Godspeed Rides – Sarasota, FL

Scott Miller – Explicit Customs – West Melbourne, FL

Rob Miller – JML Audio of St. Louis – Fenton, MO

Jeremiah Mojica – GNC Customs – Elkhart, IN

Jonathan Moore – Dreamworks Motorsports – Roxboro, NC

Michael Oechsner – Mobile Edge – Lehighton, PA

Chris Ott – Amplified Autosports – Tampa, FL

Christerfer Pate – Mobile Toys Inc – College Station, TX

Adam Perkins – Sound Wave Customs – Virginia Beach, VA

John Phillips – Stereo One Carbondale – Carbondale, IL

Bryan Piper – Resonance Auto Craft – Corpus Christi, TX

Carlos Ramirez – NVS Audio – Linden, NJ

Alain Sainvil – NVS Audio – Linden, NJ

Mike Sandoval – Sound Warehouse – Salt Lake City, UT

Matt Schaeffer – Safe & Sound Mobile Electronics – Chantilly, VA

Jon Schmitz – Mach 1 Audio – Washington, MO

John Schumacher – Audio Solutions StL – St. Louis, MO

Mike Schwitz – Sound Connection – St. Joseph, MN

Cj Silvey – Foss Audio and Tint – Puyallup, WA

Jason Stone – Stereo Solutions – Redding, CA

Vinny Tullo – VIP Customs – Earlysville, VA

Bryan Turvaville – Auto Trim Design – Amarillo, TX

Miguel Vega – Titan Motoring – Nashville, TN

Colton Wadley – Pro Audio – Provo, UT

Warren Williams – Hi-Tech Car Audio – El Cerrito, CA

Tyler Wilson – Spokane Audio Video Experts – Greenacres, WA

Top 50 Retailers
sponsored by

Sony Logo Industry Awards

Absolute Electronix – Rockville, MD

Adrenaline Autosound – Clayton, NC

Al & Ed’s Autosound – Los Angeles, CA

Audio Designs & Custom Graphics – Jacksonville, FL

Audio Expert Car Stereo – Clearwater, FL

Audio Solutions StL – St. Louis, MO

Auto Trim Design – Amarillo, TX

Autosound Lab – Fresno, CA

Blvd Customs of Lakeland – Lakeland, FL

California Audio – WVC, UT

Cartronix – Valparaiso, IN

Cartunes – Atlanta, GA

Cypress Auto Sound & Tint – Cypress, CA

Distinctive Car Toyz – Pleasantville, NJ

Dr Dashboard – Evansville, IN

Dreamworks Motorsports – Roxboro, NC

Driven Audio Ltd. – Abbotsford, BC

Driven Mobile Electronics – Chantilly, VA

Elite Audio – Spartanburg, SC

Explicit Customs – West Melbourne, FL

Extreme Audio – Mechanicsville, VA

Foss Audio & Tint – Tukwila, WA

GNC Customs – Goshen, IN

Greg’s Custom Audio, Video & Car Stereo – Pikeville, KY

Industry Auto Designs – Las Vegas, NV

JC Audio – Jackson, TN

JML Audio of St. Louis – Fenton, MO

Kingpin Car & Marine Audio Inc – Wilsonville, OR

Mobile Toys – College Station, TX

Musicar Northwest – Portland, OR

NVS Audio – Linden, NJ

Ocala Car Audio – Ocala, FL

Prestige Car Audio & Marine – Metairie, LA

Radios Knobs Speakers and Things – Pontiac, MI

Sound Auto – Hamilton, NJ

Sound Depot and Performance – Gainesville, FL

Sound FX, Inc. – Lewes, DE

Sound Solutions – Gulfport, MS

Sound Wave Customs – Virginia Beach, VA

Soundscape Car Audio – Plano, TX

SoundsGood Auto – Coquitlam, BC

Spokane Audio Video Experts – Greenacres, WA

SRQ Customs – Sarasota, FL

Stereo King Oregon – Portland, OR

Stereo Solutions – Redding, CA

The Car Audio Shop – High Ridge, MO

The Sound Shop – Indian Trail, NC

Tip Top Customs – Morris, IL

Tunes-N-Tint – Lakeland, FL

Westminster Speed & Sound – Westminster, MD

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

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