e v i s s e r Prog s d n a p Ex s e c i v r Se California retailer offsets falling sales with window tinting, emergency vehicle services and breathalyzer installations. WORDS BY TED GOSLIN
here are many components that make up a sound system. There’s a head unit to handle music, navigation and Bluetooth functions, tweeters for the high end, coaxials for the mids and a subwoofer for the bass. To send the signals, an amp, preferably with DSP, is used to maximize the audio output to those speakers. Finally, it requires a skilled installation technician to bring all the components together to create a cohesive sound system. The same could be said of the types of products and services a 12-volt shop sells to its customers. And like sound systems, there are many different products one could choose from to create a shop’s offerings. While a standard car audio shop might focus mostly on selling the
12 Mobile Electronics March 2017
standard “deck and fours,” some stores have had to expand their offerings to keep up with new technology and declining car audio sales. During his 25 years as a mobile electronics business owner, Alan Binder came to learn this modern truth well, leading him to diversify his business in multiple directions. Seeing a steady decline in his car audio business forced Binder to look into other revenue sources for his chain, Progressive Mobile Electronics. Binder transformed his chain into a diversified example of how a 12-volt business can find its niche in a variety of categories, including window tinting, breathalyzer installations and emergency equipment product and installation.
Retail U-turn After selling his share in a successful restaurant chain that employed over 7,500 employees, Binder decided he wanted to take the money he’d made and fund a different kind of business. It ended up being Progressive Mobile Electronics, a chain of stores in San Diego, Calif. Since buying the company in 1991, Binder expanded beyond just car audio with a several categories. “90 percent was pure retail and 10 percent was dealer business going to install radios and speakers in cars on those lots. By May 2016, 55 percent of the business was retail, 35 was emergency equipment and the other 15 percent was window tinting.” Binder admits that the emergency equipment business is a great place for