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Music City Monarchs

Titan Motoring started in the back of a van, and has since become a thriving business that continues to grow year after year. Keys to its evolution include open communication, team-building, cross-training and shared goals that aid in cultivating positive store culture.

Words by Rosa Sophia

In Nashville, Tenn.—Music City—Titan Motoring continues to grow because of the combined talents of the shop’s team, according to business owner Philip Lindsley. “The installers we have, the talent under one roof, is amazing,” Lindsley said. “We’re not just audio, not just vinyl wrap. We do so many things here in one location, and we have so many talented individuals here. There’s no one [else] like that in our area.”

The shop came from humble beginnings in 2011, when Lindsley started doing mobile installations from a minivan. The focus at the time was car dealerships. After building the business, he... Read the rest of the story HERE.


Real World Retail for December 2019
High Volume
When it comes to turning up the tunes, Lawson’s Car Audio stocks up to meet customers’ needs in any situation.
Words by Rosa Sophia

When the business first opened in 1994 in Augusta, Georgia, Lawson’s didn’t sell car audio—instead, the store focused on anything else electronic. Current owner Morgan Lawson said his parents opened the business, but car audio came into the picture by accident. Morgan’s mother, Su Lawson, went to an auction and purchased a pallet of car audio without knowing what it was. “We sold it all within a week,” said Morgan Lawson. “Ever since the early 2000s, we’ve been nothing but an audio shop.”

The store went from being called Lawson’s to Lawson’s Car Audio, and today Morgan runs the shop. The business had three locations in 2008, he added, but when his father passed away, they downsized. If everything goes according to plan, a second location in Evans, Ga. will open in mid-April with hopes of continuing to expand into the future.

Despite going away to earn degrees in criminal justice and psychology, and later becoming a real estate agent—which he still does on the side today—Lawson said he was always drawn back to the family business. “Music brings people together,” he said. “That’s what I enjoy. I did a whole bunch of other stuff, even got my pilot’s license, but I always came back here.”

Since the beginning, the focus of the business has been...Read the rest of the story HERE.

For Installer of the Year Tim Baillie, moving forward meant choosing to make major changes. With a renewed sense of freedom and self-confidence in both work and personal life, he hopes to spread a message of health and wellness in the industry.

Words by Rosa Sophia

Tim Baillie was led into the 12-volt industry after growing up around his father, who was a mechanic. “I had my first car when I was 14,” he said. “I wanted to follow [in my dad’s footsteps] and be a mechanic.” Baillie took automotive courses in high school and went into the industry, but was led toward car audio in the early 90s. “There was a car audio school in Orlando called CMA. I think it was only around four or five years—before Mobile Dynamics and Installer Institute. My parents said, ‘If this is something you want to do, we’ll send you to school.’”

In the course of his studies, Baillie learned the fundamentals of sound and electrical. In 1992, he got involved in IASCA, eventually winning over 150 first place awards, and several eastern and western regional events. “I placed in the top five every year from 1992 to 1999 at the IASCA World Finals, and in 1997 I won an IASCA World Championship in the Expert SC+ Class. I met Mark Fukuda there,” he said, adding, “He was doing things with routers and vinyl then—ten, fifteen years ahead of everyone else. Talking to him [opened up] a whole new world [for me] as far as building cars and getting better at it.”

Having a strong work ethic helped Baillie move forward with his career goals. “My dad, being a mechanic, always taught me if you... [Click Here] for the rest of the story

It’s All Part of the Process

Mobile Toys, Inc. continues to experience rapid growth year over year, attributed to its application of manufacturing processes and procedures on every aspect of the business.

Words by Rosa Sophia

Mobile Toys in College Station, Texas currently has two locations—a traditional brick-and-mortar store and a full-fledged production facility that houses the manufacturing side, MTI Acoustics. The company approaches everything they do with a manufacturing mindset, according to owner Christerfer Pate.

“The people who work here helped grow the business,” Pate said. “At any one point, there are 10 different big custom jobs in line, waiting to be worked on, and our retail side is constantly booked out two to three weeks. From the production standpoint, there are always...Read the rest of the story HERE.

Davis Distribution is “all systems go” for car audio’s new normal, offering webinars, a YouTube show and an updated studio to keep dealers motivated and educated.
Words by Jamie Sorcher
There’s probably no better way to get into the car audio business than to be born into it. For Nate Taliani, vice president of sales and marketing for Davis Distribution Systems, that’s exactly what happened.
“My father has been in this industry since before I was born. I grew up around it,” Taliani said. “When I was 20 years old, we opened up the company and I’ve been here since day one. This is all I’ve ever done for the past 22 years, so I have seen quite a bit. We were here for the start of satellite radio, when neon lighting was going through the roof, the Fast and Furious scene, NOPI Nationals and all that stuff.”
In business since 1998, Davis is headquartered in Newell, West Va., and includes Taliani, his father, two brothers and a sister.
“We don’t have an official mission statement, but our reputation combined with our word is our number one brand,” Taliani said. “That means more to us than any brand we deal with. As we all know, brands come and go, vendors come and go, but your reputation and your word are what lasts—and that’s the most important thing you can provide to your customers.” This has proven especially meaningful during the entire pandemic, and particularly now as...Read the rest of the story HERE.







After unexpectedly losing the company’s founder, Paragon Sales & Marketing looks toward the future with the same set of steadfast guiding principles that have shaped the business since its infancy.

Words by Laura Kemmerer

When the owner and founder of a company unexpectedly passes away, the question of what to do next becomes a crucial one. For Wayne Smedile, Principal of California-based Paragon Sales & Marketing, that meant stepping in to take over the business. Paragon Sales & Marketing was originally founded by William McKinley, more commonly known as Bill, in 1999. Just over two years ago, McKinley passed away at a consumer electronics show, and Wayne Smedile, long-time business associate, stepped in. Founding Principles Continue to Shape Paragon’s Future “The way the company has gone since I took over has definitely changed a little bit [in terms of] direction,” Smedile said. “But it’s still founded on certain principles that I agreed with and that I believe in.”

For Smedile, these principles include:...Read the rest of the story HERE.








From personal development training, to KnowledgeFest and beyond, SoundsGood Auto has increased its year-over-year revenue by making education a priority.  

Words by Rosa Sophia

After working for other car stereo shops over the years, Keith McCumber decided he wanted to open his own store. He’d noticed, he said, that every business he worked for eventually closed. “They were in the race to zero,” he said, “and they won!” McCumber’s first location made up 1,500 square feet, and was born with the intention of creating a better solution for clients.

“In my first year, I brought in $154,000. I found my customers, sold them products and services, picked up the products and installed them,” he said. “There were some long days, but I persevered.”

After a while, he started looking for his first employee. “I found Mike Maltais to help sell and install the aftermarket accessories with me. We found...Read the rest of the story HERE.

When it comes to nurturing a positive store culture, retailers agree that small changes can go a long way. Staying organized, keeping the shop and showroom clean, and demonstrating care and concern to both team members and clients will transform a workplace atmosphere for the better.

Words by Rosa Sophia

In Waterbury, Conn., KarTele Mobile Electronics celebrated 25 years in business this April. The shop has held a positive reputation in the area for a long time, according to owner Mike Hungerford, who took over about two years ago. “To celebrate, we’re running a bunch of specials on backup cameras and remote starters,” he said.

When it comes to maintaining a positive store culture, he said it’s the little things that count the most. “I feel like a lot of little things make a big impact without having to really try that hard,” Hungerford added. “I’ll have coffee ready for them in the morning, and I’ll buy lunch three out of the five days of the work week.”

To begin building and maintaining a positive store culture, retailers agree there are...Read the rest of the story HERE.


As the only nationally recognized certification program for the mobile electronics industry, MECP intends to reenergize its efforts in the coming year and encourage more technicians to seek higher certification levels.


Words by Rosa Sophia


One of the goals for 2019 and beyond is to increase the number of certified technicians, and to re-energize the program as the only certification standard for the industry, according to Kris Bulla, a consultant for MECP. Currently, there are four different certifications available—Mobile Product Specialist, Basic Installation Technician, Advanced Installation Technician and Master Installation Technician. More than 2,700 individuals are presently certified, with most certifications in the Basic category, according to data from MECP and the Consumer Technology Association.

“The Basic Certification is someone who has little to no experience in the bay, someone who is looking to become employed in a job that requires certification, and wants to continue working in the bay and needs the education,” Bulla said. “Advanced or higher is the level where we want everyone to be.”

More is expected of each level, Bulla added. “Master Technicians could run or manage a shop if they don’t already, or they might have the opportunity to move into a manufacturer or a distributor position with this type of certification. The Basic and Advanced guys in a shop where a Master technician works will typically go and get help from them if they can’t figure something out.”

It’s important to continue moving up, Bulla said, and the goal for the coming year is... Read the rest of the story HERE.





Begin the New Year with hope for your future and the future of your business.

What have you done today to make your business better for tomorrow? Your business need not be defined by what you did yesterday. Don’t let past mistakes define your future. Learn from, then let go of the past. It really should be defined by what you do today and then strive to repeat those successes going forward. It may be hard to make such bold statements when you remember your past failures. Learning from your own past takes reflection and will serve to produce wisdom that only comes when you have truly experienced failure.

Analyzing Your Past
Take a hard look at your... Read the rest of the story HERE.

Real World Retail for October 2019
Diversified in the Desert
AZ Motor Trendz’s product mix meets the needs of a unique work and play clientele.
Words by Rosa Sophia
In Peoria, Ariz. in 2007, Randy Flora decided it was time to open his own shop after starting a business in his home garage. “I got tired of working out of my house, so I decided it was time to try to open a car audio shop. We did it and here we are 12 years later,” he said, adding that he started with a business partner but became full owner in 2010.
Currently, the bay can hold about four cars. The shop has a lift, a small woodworking area and a tire machine area. All employees are cross-trained to work with customers and answer phones, as well. “Both of my main guys can do audio, video and suspension work,” Flora added. “I have one guy who does tires, mostly. In Arizona, the big market is trucks. If I expanded, I would add another lift and probably go after dealership work, which is tough, but that way we could ensure we always have vehicles.” Continued training for team members and increased staff tenure has helped contribute to recent accomplishments, too. “The longer they’re here, the more they...Read the rest of the story HERE.








The Changing Role of Distribution
DOW Electronics, Velocity Distributing and Davis Distribution share how they view the role of distribution in 12-volt, where it’s been and where it will go from here.
Words by Rosa Sophia
Over the last few years, the line between retail and distribution has grown fuzzy, according to Dave Elkin of DOW Electronics. “Eight or nine years ago, it was still very much rules-driven—restocking fees and that sort of thing. We were just a wholesale step between the manufacturer and the dealer.”
But what changed? Elkin added that dealers wanted more of a retail experience for themselves. “If we want a high level of customer satisfaction, we have to adapt in that area for sure.” Elkin began his career with DOW in 1995, and the company itself has been in business since 1959. However, it wasn’t until 2012 that DOW began growing and expanding the 12-volt side of the business. “It’s not just moving boxes anymore,” he said, adding it’s about “the education of...Read the rest of the story HERE.

Technicians can increase efficiency and productivity by making small improvements around the bay—including implementing a standard shop size for hardware, and keeping common materials, tools and fasteners close at hand. Business owner Brandon Green shares highlights from KnowledgeFest, focusing on how these techniques can help make an installer’s life easier.

Words by Brandon Green

Last July, Mike Schwitz and Josh White asked me to help present a class for KnowledgeFest in Dallas, and then again in Long Beach and Indianapolis. Shaughnessy Murley stepped in at the Long Beach class, and Chris Ott at the Indy class, as Josh was unable to attend.

The purpose of the class was to focus on fundamentals, industry best practices, proper materials and fasteners, tools, finishing enclosures and speaker adapters, as well as some efficiency tips for day to day installation. For those of you who were unable to attend, here are the highlights....Read the rest of the story HERE.

Copyright - Mobile Electronics Association 2020

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