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No Stone Unturned

In the quest to bring every client’s dreams to fruition, Distinctive Car Toyz has built its business from the ground up and expanded to offer everything from new cars to custom stereo systems.
 
Words by Rosa Sophia
 
In 1993, Distinctive Car Toyz in Egg Harbor, New Jersey, began with a focus on dealership work, offering gold plating and wood dash trims. Owner James Lin started the business out of the trunk of his 1992 Lexus. After two years, he moved into a two-bay garage, then to a larger location. The business grew substantially before being featured on the cover of Mobile Electronics magazine in 2013. “Then we found a spot a half a mile away from our last location,” Lin said, noting that they built from the ground up, beginning March 2, 2020, while still running the business out of the old location. “We finished the new building in eight months when everyone said it would take 18. We moved in at the end of December and had our grand opening on January 25, 2021.” Lin and his shop foreman, Eric Laskosky, managed the project themselves during the COVID-19 shutdown. The business now has a total of 10,000 square feet, with 8,000 for the garage and 2,000 set aside for the showroom. The shop’s hours are nine a.m. to seven p.m., giving those who work until five a chance to pick up their cars in the evening. The staff of 30 includes a shuttle driver who will take customers home or to work after they drop off their vehicles.
The staff, he said, has grown together for the most part. The shop’s full-time tinter attended the Tint School in Florida. “When I do the hiring, I tend to recruit what’s out there,” he said. “They come prepared. There isn’t a whole lot of training needed when you hire experienced help.”
 
The business has a team of specialized technicians: Some handle only wheels and tires, and one technician focuses on vehicle lifts, engine swaps and transmissions. The shop offers an extensive list of services, everything from oil changes to car audio, in an effort to meet clients’ needs. And while it began by servicing dealerships, Distinctive Car Toyz has become a dealership, as well. Lin said this aspect of the business became...Read the rest of the story CLICK HERE.
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With a focus on revitalizing the Industry Awards, the yearly ceremony has been moved from Dallas to Las Vegas. Past award winners share their perspectives on an evolving tradition.
 
Words by Rosa Sophia
 
For the last three years, KnowledgeFest has held an event in Long Beach, Calif. But on February 18-20, 2022, the show and the Industry Awards will take place in Las Vegas, Nev. The choice was made to revitalize the awards ceremony and processes, and to make the awards more reflective of a full year of recognition.
 
Elias Ventura, who was awarded 2016-2017 Sales Pro of the Year and now works as the Mid-Atlantic territory manager for SounDigital and Ground Zero, said the move is a welcome one. “I think a change of scenery and structure is necessary, especially with all the present chaos,” he explained. “Having something to look forward to is important. Vegas is a perfect place for the show, and I think a little shift was needed.”
 
Past Winners Work to Refresh the Industry Awards
Members of the Industry Awards committee—including Ventura—meet to “make sure the process is very fair, and that we move forward in a modern way of doing things,” according to Jeff Smith, director of training at AAMP Global.
He added that it’s important to.... Read the rest of the story HERE.
 
 
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Shop Owners Teach Industry Essentials at KnowledgeFest
 
Word by Laura Kemmerer
 
Known for hosting some of the highest quality education in the mobile electronics industry, KnowledgeFest recently marked a return to in-person classes and networking opportunities. At the event, Adam Devine of Devine Concepts in Naples, Fla., and Brandon Green of The Car Audio Shop in High Ridge, Mo., both drew on their own expertise and taught “Marine Fabrication Best Practices” and “The 12-Volt Insight.”
Devine said he felt the turnout at the debut Orlando show was excellent, “especially being post pandemic. People are still worrying about going to events. The turnout has been great, the interactions have been great and the classes are phenomenal. I’ve seen more interaction during the classes instead of just downloading the content and information and not participating,” he added.
 
Online education options, though helpful due to pandemic restrictions, had lower rates of engagement from students. According to Devine, in-person learning facilitates more participation and gets attendees to ask more questions. In contrast with few questions asked in virtual trainings, Devine and Green had over 30 inquiries after their first presentation. The two also closed out the weekend co-teaching “The 12-Volt Insight,” an owner-manager class. Devine noted that his store in Naples focuses on high-end luxury vehicles, and his perspective might not be relevant to everyone.
 
“Understanding those differences and what you should have in terms of product selection could be different from Naples to Minnesota to everywhere else,” Devine said.
What should remain the same, however, is how you interact with your clients. Emphasis on customer service, excellent solutions and getting an understanding of your customer’s lifestyle, in order to better understand their needs, should all be part of the same core practice. With an additional emphasis on selling benefits rather than features, customers are sure to have a positive experience.
 
“You’re not going to sell a mom who has two kids and makes long trips on the features of rear-seat entertainment, you’re going to sell them on the fact that it’s the experience—the kids in the backseat are going to be quiet and you’re going to have a nice relaxing ride,” he explained.... Read the rest of the story HERE.
 
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Fulfilling educational sessions and new beginnings in Orlando marked the return to in-person KnowledgeFest events, while the industry anticipates a transformative year ahead.
 
Words by Rosa Sophia
 
Over half of all attendees at KnowledgeFest Orlando, June 25-27, reported that it was their very first time attending, according to a survey by Mobile Electronics Association. Orlando—known as “the City Beautiful”—hosted the debut KnowledgeFest, and those hailing from Florida were excited to have the show in their own “backyard.”
 
Dave Elkin of DOW Technologies said it was a short drive from the company’s corporate headquarters in Tampa. “We decided to tell our ‘local’ story [to attendees],” he said, adding, “It was so exciting to look around the booth and see all the vehicles owned by DOW employees.” After all, he added, the company’s motto “‘We are Technology’ is something we live by every day.”
 
 
MMats Pro Audio, which manufactures most of its audio equipment in Jupiter, Fla., made the drive to Orlando for KnowledgeFest. For regional sales manager Mike Hall, Friday’s show floor experience was most memorable, with plenty of interaction with knowledgeable dealers. Hall said the past year has been a very busy one for the company, adding that MMats sold in the first three months of the year what would’ve normally taken nine months to sell.
“This was our third national event of the year,” he added. “While some might say attendance was low, we felt like those who did attend were very important to our success.”
 
KnowledgeFest as a Return to In-Person Networking
Professionals from across the industry agreed that getting to see everyone in person again was a highlight of the show. Elkin said DOW Technologies had very positive interactions with key dealers and core vendors, adding, “Everyone has been through a lot over the past 16 months. To be able to finally get back together with so many familiar faces was fantastic.”
 
He gave a nod to his company’s sales team, underscoring the importance of building value and deepening relationships, and said he feels the industry will begin to see higher levels of attendance at industry events in the coming year.
“I think some folks were just too busy, so they couldn’t get out yet, but I also think there were dealers who wanted to see how this show went before committing or planning to attend themselves,” he said, agreeing with Hall that although attendance seemed light, they were able to visit with a lot of dealers. One of the challenges, though, is encouraging people to .... Read the rest of the story HERE.
 
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Sketching the Future
 
At the start of the pandemic, one-man shop Seismic Autosound seized the opportunity to change course in search of ideal clients and a better work-life balance.
 
Words by Rosa Sophia
 
Seismic Autosound has partnered with Custom Mobile Electronics in Novato, Calif., merging the two businesses into one. Bryon Jankow, owner of Seismic Autosound, and Marty Barry of Custom Mobile Electronics discussed their respective situations and arrived at the same conclusion: The one-man shop approach wasn’t working for either of them anymore, and they wanted a better work-life balance. Becoming business partners made the most sense.
“I was working alone. So was he. It was 70 to 80 hours a week, non-stop, and that takes its toll after a while,” Jankow said. “Marty’s shop already had the type of clients I wanted to attract. It was a no-brainer for us to team up and take stress off each other, and move forward from there.”
 
Seismic Autosound moved from Concord to Novato, to Barry’s already-established location, and together, they expanded to about 4,000 square feet. Now, the shop is open five days a week and they both have time to enjoy a personal life again.
Jankow recalled the Bay Area going into lockdown for COVID-19 just as his lease ran out.
 
The two have been business partners for just under a year, but they’ve kept their respective shop names the same. “For now, it’s just been about bringing everything together,” he said. “We’re trying to...Read the rest of the story CLICK HERE.
 
 
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June 30, 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, conducted an interviewed David Prinz, CEO of GoFast Solutions. He shared his insights and perspective as it relates to GoFast Solutions 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:
 
 

Read the Article:

In the Groove
David Prinz uses his drive and passion to make every lap count for GoFast Solutions.
 
Words by Jamie Sorcher
 
It’s a classic formula: A high school kid with a passion for car audio gets a job at a stereo shop and, years later, opens a successful business of their own. It’s exactly what happened for David Prinz, the CEO of Middletown, Conn.-based GoFast Solutions. He recalled the makeshift stereo system in his pickup truck, and how he used to drive to a local business—the Sound Company—and talk with the guys who worked there.
 
“I asked what it took to get a job there as an installer,” he said. “They told me I needed a general understanding of electronics, so I went to Gateway Community Technical College right after high school and did a one-year certificate program in electronic technology.” He ultimately got the job and became a salesperson and an installer. From there, he went to....[Click Here to Continue Reading]
 
 
 
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Devil’s in the Details

Apicella Autosound aims to provide detail-oriented perfection in integration and tuning, which has led to fast-paced growth year over year.
 
Words by Rosa Sophia
 
Stony Point, New York-based Apicella Autosound began by catering mainly to hobbyists, according to owner Nick Apicella. Now, the shop is drawing a wealthier clientele which he noted tends to have full confidence in the team when it comes to letting them guide the project. While the shop still does custom work with competition-style sound quality builds, the majority is now focused on OEM integration.
 
Until about two months ago, the staff consisted of only Apicella and technician Kevin Mullings. The shop now has a staff of four. Apprentice Kyle Dunn started out as an enthusiast who often called the shop for advice. The newest addition, Matthew Kim, moved from Oregon to join the team. About 90 percent of the business’s projects consist of car audio, with smaller percentages in radar, laser detection and remote start. “We do a few remote starts a week,” Apicella said. “Kevin is very skilled at remote starts and alarms, but we don’t make an effort to do a ton of them.” Tuning is the shop’s main money-maker.
 
From High-End Cars to High-End Sound
When he was younger, a journey to purchase a high-end subwoofer from a dealer in Manhattan opened doors for...Read the rest of the story CLICK HERE.
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North Andover, MA – April 20 , 2021 – Mobile Electronics Magazine features great information for Selling Vehicle Safety Systems for Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) brought to you from the Vision Zero Automotive Network.
 
Vision Zero is dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of safety equipment in vehicles. Join us as we highlight these technologies and discuss sales strategies retailers can implement today.
 

Educate your clients on how they can protect themselves and their vehicles with dashcam and DVR systems.

Words by Dave MacKinnon

Equipping a car or truck with a dashcam or Digital Video Recording (DVR) system goes a long way toward improving how that vehicle is operated. Whether it’s for a personal application or in a corporate environment, if the driver knows everything he or she does is being recorded, the chances of aggressive or dangerous driving will be dramatically reduced. Better driving behavior directly translates into reduced accidents.

What is a Dashcam?

A dashcam is a compact digital video recording system designed to be mounted to the front windshield of a vehicle. These compact all-in-one systems have... Read the rest of the article HERE
 
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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.
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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.
 
 
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