Mobile Electronics Magazine August 2016

Page 39

The shop also works with the local fire department and highway patrol, installing navigation, Bluetooth, backup cameras and specialty remote starts. "Some of the highway patrol cars have come from precincts 300 miles away," Fung said. "What started it was we work with a lot of dealerships here in town and they were handling a lot of fleet programs. They got on board with highway patrol and we jumped on board with that."

Liquid Thoughts Becoming a community's go-to place for vehicle upgrades isn't a guarantee, even in a place like Redding where there is a need. It's a good thing that Fung is immersed in all things 12-volt and always has been throughout his career. "It's the only job I've ever had. I worked sweeping car audio shops when I was 15 and a half, right when I could drive," Fung said. "The first shop I worked at was called Speed of Sound in Redding. I was sweeping floors and getting to learn installs by shadowing." After spending two to three years at Speele Audio, Fung moved around to several shops in town. The experience helped Fung identify the do's and don'ts of the business, preparing and inspiring him to open his own shop. "All the shops I worked at in town are no longer in business. I think one of the biggest reasons was the owners of the shops were not car audio guys. They all had financial backers. None of them could install. They all had to rely on someone else to get a job done," Fung said. "When it comes down to it, I can sell a job and I can turn around and install it. It's hard for me to hire a salesman without an installation background because if he doesn't know what he's selling and the car it's going in, it won't turn out right. That's a unique thing here. I have six employees and every single one of them has an installation background."

The shop does not have a dedicated salesperson anymore. Instead, Fung uses a unique approach, allowing as many installers to populate the sales floor as is needed at any given time to handle customers. "People can buy this stuff anywhere but can't get it installed anywhere. There's a guy in town now that just sells product," Fung said. "That's how we focus the shop, around the install." Part of Fung's unique approach comes from his background in self-sufficiency and resourcefulness. "A shop was going out of business and I had the opportunity to buy out all their inventory and I jumped on it. I started out in a 1,000 square foot shop with two people. It was February of '07 in the beginning of the recession and super hard to get lines on anything because we were the small guy in the back of the building, sharing it with another business," Fung said. "Scott from RPM was one of the only reps who would sell us any lines because he saw our passion for what we do. About a year into it we were growing so we went to 2,000 square feet in an industrial park, then after about four years there we noticed it wasn't stopping, so we moved to our current location on Main Street with a 4,000 square foot building." After some initial advertising, the shop built a reputation that spread through word-of-mouth. Thanks to Fung's strong background and his interest in hiring only experienced installation technicians, it became the go-to place for 12-volt upgrades. "Our first year in business we did about $200,000 in sales. It has almost doubled every year. I'm doing almost a million dollars a year now," Fung said. "This year we are on track to beating last year, too. One of the hardest things has been trying to keep up with the growth. We have a crew of about six people now but need more because we are still growing. Hands-on training is a

FAST FACTS

STEREO SOLUTIONS

www.stereosolutionsinc.com

Stereo Solutions is a traditional retail store located at 2345 Hilltop Drive, Redding, California, 96002. The store is located on the main street of a small town with a population of 100,000 that sees about 19,000 vehicles pass by per day. The facility consists of 3,600 total square feet with an installation bay that includes pull-through bays and a woodshop/fiberglass room. Primary marketing includes word-of-mouth, local car shows, a wrapped van that features the company name and logo and various social media campaigns including Facebook and Instagram.

KEY STAFF

OWNER(S): Mark & Erica Fung SALES MANAGER: Jason Stone INSTALLATION MANAGER: Danny Pepper INSTALLATION SPECIALISTS: Richard Hansen, Travis Hibner TINT SPECIALIST: Patrick Francis

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