Mobile Electronics Magazine - April 2020

Page 1

April 2020


Having built a strong foundation, LIS Audio moves through the current crisis with a positive outlook on the future of the business


Coping with COVID-19

Resources, insight and advice to help you and your business endure challenging times Retailers Join the Fight: The industry battles COVID by making PPE for healthcare workers Forge Ahead: Take positive action now by overcoming bad habits and behaviors


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Volume 52// Issue 04


20 14

20 Retail News/Who’s Who 54 Installs 58 From the President


FEATURES 14// What’s Happening: The Industry Responds to COVID-19 During an unprecedented global emergency, the 12-volt industry is coming together in mutual support to help keep employees and clients safe and healthy.

32// Real World Retail: LIS Audio Having built a solid foundation, LIS Audio is working toward eventually expanding into a second facility and adding additional categories to an already growing list of services.

44// Strategy & Tactics: Identifying & Overcoming Negative Habits & Behaviors In the face of these difficult times, what actions can we take today to work toward a brighter future? Jon Kowanetz of Handcrafted discusses how we can face our negative habits and behaviors and take action for positive change.

48// Tech Today: Creating Integration Solutions for Everyday Installs Using the LGD line of products from AudioControl, technicians can skip the guesswork and frustration of integrating audio in many late model vehicles.

On the Cover COVER DESIGN: Ana Ramirez In the midst of a global pandemic, LIS Audio continues to persevere due to its solid business structure and careful planning. The two-man team of Justice Berry and Cameron Powell are featured on this month’s cover as they focus on staying positive and moving forward.

4  Mobile Electronics April 2020

6 Editor’s Forum 8 Feedback

Ad Index

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editor’s forum

Searching for a Silver Lining in the Storm Clouds Finding hope for our industry in this most critical time Ask me what is on my mind and you may get an earful of what I believe and how I think things will play out. The reality: None of us knows how things will turn out. Right now, I am more interested in our future as a country and more specifically, as the mobile electronics industry. I am humbled and honored to serve as the president of the Mobile Electronics Association (MEA), especially at this period in our history. At MEA, we are doing everything in our power to help mobile electronics specialty retailers sustain their businesses. We created as an effort to aggregate important information critical to our industry’s survival during this time. Please take a moment right now to review and let us know if there is anything more we can provide to assist you. Education and Training Resources Since this crisis started, we have been busy with meetings, webinars and gathering important resources to help the industry. Every Friday we meet with a group of industry leaders which includes manufacturers, distributors and other industry associations. During our meetings, we discuss the week’s events, learn from one another and consider ways as a group to sustain our industry during this crisis. I can say firsthand that if you are a retailer in this industry, your suppliers have your best interests in mind and at heart. Another group we meet with weekly are sales representatives. They are on the frontlines and your best resource for information on the goings-on of your suppliers. They, too, lend their wisdom to the discussion of supporting the specialty retailer. One of the positive results of this crisis is the near endless amount of education and training being delivered via webinars. The entire schedule can be found at under Education and Training Resources. If you are a supplier, we have a quick and easy link to submit your event and gain more attendees. Look for this website to become the new place for all things education and training—your best resource from the association that brings you KnowledgeFest! MEA Webinars to Help You Through the Crisis Since we launched this resource, MEA has provided hours of education to help specialty retailers through this crisis. Most notably, we have hosted several webinars on the Small Business Association Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster (EID) Loan programs. These

6  April 2020

webinars and many more are viewable on-demand at Just as important are the weekly MEA Retail Owner & Manager webinars that have covered topics such as: How to establish and maintain your business as an essential business, how to stay connected to your customers and community, how to create consumer-facing videos to keep your customers feeling safe when doing business at your retail location, and understanding the new sales process as we reopen our society. These important webinars will continue for the near future to assist our industry as we all learn together how best to adapt in this ever-changing environment. If there is a topic you feel we as your industry association should be teaching, please take a moment and contact us at the email provided on

SINCE WE LAUNCHED THIS RESOURCE, MEA HAS PROVIDED HOURS OF EDUCATION TO HELP SPECIALTY RETAILERS THROUGH THIS CRISIS. Looking Toward the Future Together MEA will continue to provide the latest and best information we can find to assist you in sustaining your business. We are committed to helping you strengthen your business as we move from stay-at-home orders to emerging with a new and focused purpose. As you finish reading, I encourage you to look toward the future. A future that enables us to come together with a renewed purpose. Personally, I look forward to being together once again at a future KnowledgeFest event. I greatly miss seeing all of you and hearing the inspiring stories of how you learned and applied new knowledge gleaned from education workshops, manufacturer trainings, and some of my favorites, just hanging out with your peers at great networking events. Until that time comes, please stay safe and healthy. Also, let us know if there is anything we can do to help in any area of your business. Know that MEA is here for you as your Industry’s #1 Resource!

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 feedback


EDITORIAL Rosa Sophia Managing Editor 978.645.6466 • Chris Cook Editor-at-Large Creative Layout and Design: Ana Ramirez Contributing Editors: Jamie Sorcher and Laura Kemmerer

Published by TM

When One Door Closes Instead of waiting on change, retailers advise embracing it. When an employee leaves for another opportunity, or a category becomes less profitable, shops take chances and explore new avenues.

“Losing employees is never part of the plan, but it happens. How we respond to it makes the biggest difference. When I got Ben DelGrosso’s notice, I calmly stopped what I was doing so that I could process the change without getting too emotionally attached. I accepted the change once I understood the ramifications of the loss. I also had to look at the positive options that would open up once we were no longer dependent upon his talents. What I saw was an ability to take what he had shown us to use it ourselves rather than rely on him to continue to hold our hands through it. He basically took our training wheels off so that we could prosper on our own. Once I saw that, I was open to the new outlook without him in my employ.” Keith McCumber, SoundsGood Auto Services, Coquitlam, British Columbia “Expand your business. Don’t wait on customers. You need to get out and cold call and ask for sales. Expand your business with more products in accessories, truck steps, tonneau covers and WeatherTech floor mats.” George Smith, Mobileworks-Tintworks of Santa Maria, Santa Maria, Calif. “We improve our customer service over the phone. It helps make your shop stand out from other businesses.” Bader Hijaz, Soundz Good Stereo, Oxnard, Calif.

8  Mobile Electronics April 2020

mobile electronics association

Chris Cook, President 978.645.6434 • Richard Basler, Dir. Technology Solutions 978.645.6449 • Tony Frangiosa, Chairman of the Board, MEA 1) Title of publication: Mobile Electronics. 2) Publication No.: 957-170 6. (ISSN#1523-763X) 3) Copyright © 2019by the Mobile Electronics 4) Date of filing: Oct.1, 2019.5) Frequency of issue: Monthly. 6) No. of issues published annually: 127) Annual subscription price: $35.00. 8) Periodical postage paid at LawrenceMA and additional mailing offices. 9) Complete mailing address of known officeof publication: 85 FlagshipDrive, Ste F, North Andover, MA 01845. 10) Completemailing address of the headquarters or general business offices of the publisher:85 Flagship Drive, Ste F, North Andover, MA 01845. 11) Full names and completemailing address of Publisher, Editor and Managing Editor: Publisher: Chris Cook,85 Flagship Drive, Ste F, North Andover, MA 01845; Editor/Managing Editor:Solomon Daniels/Rosa Sophia, 85 Flagship Drive, Ste F, North Andover, MA 0184512) Owner: MERA, Mobile Electronics Retailers Association, 85 Flagship Drive,Ste F, North Andover, MA 01845. 13) Known bondholders, mortgages, andother security holders owning or holding 1% or more of total amounts of bonds,mortgages or other securities: None. 14) Tax Status: Not applicable. 15) Name ofPublication: Mobile Electronics. 16) Issue date for circulation data below: October2018. 6. a) Total no. copies (net press run) Average: 10,237 Single Issue; 12,826.b) Paid/Requested mail subscriptions Average: 6039, Single Issue: 7346. c) Paidsales through dealers, etc.; Average: 0. Single issue; d) Requested distributed byother classes of mail: Average: 435, Single issue: 520. Total paid and/or requestedcirculation; Average 6039. Single issue: 7346. e) Nonrequested distribution bymail; Average: 3593Single issue: 4223. Free distribution through other classesof mail: Average: 0, Single issue: 0. f) Non-requested distribution outside the mail;Average: 267. Single issue: 750. g) Total nonrequested distribution; Average3860, Single issue: 4973. h) Total distribution; Average: 9,899. Single issue: 12,319.i) Copies not distributed; h1) Office use, leftovers; Average: 338. Single Issue; 507j) Total; Average: 10,237. Single issue; 12.826Percent paid and/or requestedcirculation; Average: 61.01%. Single issue 59.63%. 17) POSTMASTER: Please sendaddress changes to Mobile Electronics, 85 Flagship Drive Suite F, North AndoverMA 01845-9998

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ďƒŽ stats


The Mobile Electronics Association created a weekly survey in an effort to track the impact of COVID-19 on our industry as it relates to the mobile electronics specialty retail channel. The results shared are from the past 30-days of survey results ending April 17, 2020. Based on the current situation do you feel this crisis may cause you to go out of business?

Is your retail location open for business?

How had your customer flow been affected?

When did you close?

When you reopen or the shelter in place orders are removed, how long do you believe it will take you to recover?

10  Mobile Electronics April 2020



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 helpful stuff


MEA Help was created to support our industry in the midst of an unprecedented global event. You’ll find presentations, resources on small business loans, tax information and much more. This website is available to all within the mobile electronics industry—not just members of MEA. Additionally, Mobile Electronics Association is hosting a live webinar once weekly to help industry professionals stay up-to-date. Topics have included Coronavirus and its impact on the industry, as well as local marketing during the crisis, and an overview of the CARES Act and the Payment Protection Program.

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 What’s Happening


Sound Wave Customs’ annual Salepocalypse went on as scheduled on March 13. Although less people attended, a greater number of higher-end products were sold.

During an unprecedented global emergency, the 12-volt industry is coming together in mutual support to help keep employees and clients safe and healthy. WORDS BY ROSA SOPHIA

By mid-March, schools began closing in response to the spread of COVID-19, social distancing became the norm and restaurants that hadn’t closed offered takeout and delivery only. All major sporting events were suspended. Travel restrictions were put into place all over the world, and stay-at-home orders were soon to follow in various cities around

14  Mobile Electronics April 2020

the country. Mobile electronics businesses have responded by switching to appointment-only, closing the retail sides of their stores—or by closing entirely. Many have been able to stay open, which accounts for about 65 of the industry. Sound Wave Customs in Virginia Beach, Va. is limiting the number of clients in their showroom and has closed

their waiting area, according to the business’s Facebook page. If they aren’t feeling well, customers are asked not to come in. Odin Mattes of Earmark Car Audio & Tint in Plano, Texas said the shop has seen an immediate drop in business, and has since closed temporarily. “February is traditionally the slowest month of the

The Industry Responds to COVID-19

PONDS TO COVID-19 Stay Active in Your Business Retailers say now is the time for business owners and managers to work on their businesses and stay proactive: • Work on the structure of your business. • Write an employee handbook, or work on an existing one. • Re-organize the shop. • Paint or do additional deep-cleaning. • Build a new display. • Share your ideas with others in the industry to help each other stay motivated. Visit for COVID-19 resources for the mobile electronics industry.

year for us,” Mattes said. “This February was a little softer than usual after a good January.” While March started out well, he added, it’s since dried up. The shop’s main categories are car audio, remote start and security, and window tint and paint protection. At the time of this writing, Absolute Electronix in Rockville, Md. still had a steady stream of business, according to owner Ata Ehdaivand. The shop closed the retail side of the store and decided to only allow one client in the store at a time. “We still have good business,” he said, “but we’re also in a very rich county. We’re not recession-proof, or

depression-proof, but it takes a little bit more to get us in a bad situation. We’ll see. I have high hopes.” Ehdaivand added he sees this as an opportunity for the industry to work together and strengthen collectively, stating, “This is the time for the cream to rise.” If a business doesn’t reopen, he said, “It doesn’t mean they don’t do good work. It just means they weren’t in a strong place.” During an owner and manager roundtable hosted online by Mobile Electronics Association, Kevin Hallinan of WINNING, Inc. encouraged attendees to cultivate a positive mindset right away. “Do the

best you can. We’ve never seen a time like this in our country and our world. It can either bond people together, or drive them apart. I’ve personally seen more bonding,” he said, adding, “We all have a choice when it comes to our beliefs and our mindsets.”

Initial Impact on the 12-Volt Industry Ethan Blau, owner of Sound Wave Customs, said things began to change on the day of the shop’s annual Salepocalypse event, which was held on Friday the 13th of March. “I felt like we were going to have a record year,” Blau said. “A day or so before the sale, though, the governor started shutting things down.” Everything


 What’s Happening was already set up, he said, adding, “Manufacturer reps were coming in from out of town. I had tons of product. One person canceled because their company wouldn’t let them fly.” While moving ahead with the sale, Blau took extra precautions. The shop was deep-cleaned and they acquired additional hand sanitizer. Before the sale every year, Blau said, there is usually a long line before the event opens at six p.m., while radio stations set up in the parking lot and keep attendees entertained. This year, it took a little longer for the line to build. “Luckily, at about 5:45, we had around 30 or 40 people in line,” he said. “It was a lot lighter than any other year, but we also sold higher-end stuff.” Despite the announcements made on that day—schools were closed, and local officials recommended self-quarantining—Blau said Salepocalypse went well. Still, he added, revenue was down about 20 to 25 percent from last year. It wasn’t until Wednesday of the following week that business began to slow, and Sound Wave Customs started seeing cancellations and no-shows. “This is my livelihood,” Blau added. “It’s scary.” Ehdaivand said the first thing the shop did was switch employees’ pay from salary to commission. “They were more than happy to do whatever it takes to save this place,” he added. “We talked about it, made a plan and that was that.”

Keeping Employees and Customers Safe Nick Beckman of Lawton, Okla.-based High Volume Car Stereo said the shop is ready to make adjustments where needed. Switching to appointment-only helps maintain social distancing, he added. “Here in Oklahoma, things are very spread out, but everyone should still follow the rules and apply preventative measures,” he said. It’s important to keep employees and customers safe, Blau agreed. “We all have to band together on this,” he said, adding, “Not just in 12-volt, but also in the service industry. We’re all in a difficult spot.” Tomas Keenan of Top Class Installations noted that his business has no facility, but it does have 11 field technicians who go out and perform the work.

16  Mobile Electronics April 2020

Thinking Outside the Box to Remain Top-of-Mind Sound Wave Customs in Virginia Beach, Va. is using its already strong social media presence to stay connected with the 12-volt industry as well as its customers. Owner Ethan Blau said the shop has started livestreaming several “mini-series” shows on its Facebook page. “Our Tech Tip Tuesday show has done very well and we’ve received a lot of responses from current and potential new clients,” Blau said. “We also do a Live Facebook series entitled What’s New Wednesday, where we talk about anything from new improvements to the store, new products, new displays and more.” Sound Wave Customs is still accepting dropoff appointments, Blau said, which means the shop’s other livestream show, Full Bay Fridays, is remaining active online. “It’s a quick behind-the-scenes show for Facebook and Instagram,” he added. Additionally, the shop has implemented a text messaging service for clients to let them know about sales. Customers have

Top Class is located in New York, one of the hardest hit areas in the country. Non-essential businesses in the state shut down by March 22. “We’re in GPS tracking, so we fall under logistics and technology support for trucking companies.” Employees at Top Class kept working until they no longer felt comfortable. “We are not producing anything at this time,” Keenan added, “but we are still operational in the office-end of things.”

Focusing On Business Structure

Keenan is also the author of Unf*ck Your Business: Stop Business Self-Sabotage by Getting Clear on Your Core Values NOW. Keenan stated that it’s important for owners to take this time to work on their businesses. “If you can’t interact with customers, you probably still have a facility you can go to,” he said. “Go organize stuff. Revamp a display. Swap out the gear. Start building or fine-tuning processes that support the functions of your business.” Keenan said this can include considering the shop’s intake process for vehicles, creating check-in forms, taking a closer

been coming in the same day of the text to purchase sale items, Blau said, adding, “We’re doing weekly sales specials and keeping customers updated on any new changes to store policy during the pandemic.” These efforts of keeping in touch have worked well for the store. “We limit people in the store to one at a time, and we do extra sanitizing and social distancing.” Dividers have also been implemented, and customers cannot touch displays in the showroom. The livestream shows have been received well by social media audiences, and Blau said he thinks online education for the shop’s customer base is a good addition moving forward. “You have to think outside the box and think about the future,” he said. “Stay positive, change certain ways you do business, and stay current to the times—especially now. Sometimes we have to step outside our comfort zones to make progress.”

look at operations such as software and more. “There’s never been a better time to start working on the foundational stuff that makes your business more efficient,” he said, adding, “Rather than panicking, focus on something you can impact—not something you have no control over.” Blau echoed Keenan’s advice. “Stay positive,” he said. “If I have to be closed, I have to look at the next thing. For example, I want to rewrite my 63-page employee handbook. I can do that from home or the office.” Blau said he may also use the time to do additional deep-cleaning, organizing, building new displays for the showroom or completely change the layout of the showroom. “It’s important to keep things new and fresh,” he added. “I would like to paint my bay floor, maybe reorganize the tool boxes.” Mattes said there aren’t many projects to do around the shop during the downtime. “I bought a new car last year, and we haven’t had time to put a demo system in it. We talked about doing that so it’s ready when things come back around.”

The Industry Responds to COVID-19

Many businesses have had to close temporarily as a result of the spread of COVID-19, including Earmark Car Audio & Tint in Plano, Texas. Other shops have been able to stay open while taking the necessary precautions to protect staff and clients.

Continuing to Learn and Grow Stay productive, Keenan urged. Retailers agreed now is not the time to be stagnant. Some manufacturers and distributors are holding online trainings to help retailers keep up-to-date. Additionally, Kingpin University is offering free online courses during the pandemic to help retailers and technicians stay educated. To take advantage of these sessions, visit The 12V Empire Facebook Group and request to join. “So many people get nervous and worried—I get it, I really do—especially as a business owner who is worried about payroll and my family at home,” Keenan said. “Stay positive. Keep working. No matter how small the amount is daily, you have to keep pushing forward. It’s difficult in these trying times, but it will allow us to keep things together. Not just in our industry—but in any industry.”

Ehdaivand is one of many industry professionals taking part in online calls to discuss how the industry can move through the crisis together. He said he focuses on trying to move discussions in a positive direction. “Let’s talk about what we can do to go forward,” he said, adding that manufacturers and dealers need to find a way to work together to find solutions during this difficult time. “They can’t lose business, and neither can we. We have to work together to keep the industry strong despite this.”

No Emergency Plan? Create One Now Some people have no plan for an emergency of any kind, Keenan said, and now is the time to start building one. “One thing I learned many years ago is to take a set percentage of money and divert it to a hidden bank account every week when I get paid,” he said. “It should be a local bank within driving distance, but not

close. Across town would be ideal, so it’s not easily accessed. When you set it up, don’t get an ATM card or turn on online banking. Make it very difficult even for you to pull money from the account.” Keenan advised setting up a direct deposit once weekly—whatever number works best for the individual. “You’d be surprised in one or two years how much money accrues,” he added. Ehdaivand admitted the team at Absolute Electronix probably wasn’t as prepared as they could have been. However, he said, “We didn’t panic. We made changes as quickly as we could.” The changes, he added, were implemented based on the potential for total loss of business. “Luckily, that hasn’t happened.” Blau admitted he doesn’t have enough of an emergency plan in place, beyond insurance preparations for hurricanes. “I think if you haven’t done it already, now


 What’s Happening

is the time to think about planning for future emergencies,” he said, adding that while no one wants to think something bad might happen, it’s still important to be prepared for it. “Make sure you have a one, two or three-month shut-down plan with money set aside,” he added. “I applaud those who have more solid plans in place.” Beckman said he thinks his shop is in a good position to be able to handle what’s ahead. “Ignition interlocks make us an essential business,” he said. “I’ve already told my employees I’m paying them for six months, even if I do zero business. The money we make, we reinvest into the business. We haven’t been wasteful with spending.” Beckman said he’s also been working toward having at least six months of finances set aside so there’s a backup in case an emergency happens. “I haven’t gotten there yet, but I still think we’re well-suited to be able to deal with this

18  Mobile Electronics April 2020

based on how we’ve handled the business.” He added that if he’s not making any money, he will call banks and lenders to put off personal bills, too. Keenan said now is the time to apply for the Small Business Administration’s COVID-19 economic injury loan. “Right before this, my business started applying for an SBA loan without knowing any of this would happen. I am glad we got a head start. The system is inundated with requests.” He added that businesses should apply for this loan right away, and continue seeking out resources to stay informed during the spread of Coronavirus.

Staying Connected and Providing Mutual Support Most importantly, industry professionals should stay productive, Keenan said. “As much as you may want to sit back on the couch and drink, it’s not the time,” he added. “Get your body moving. We’re all

at home now. If you’re not into exercise, you leaving the house on a daily basis was probably more exercise than you’re getting now. Do something to make up for that lost movement.” Keenan also recommended eating well, meditating and maintaining stress. “Look up Dr. Joe Dispenza,” he said. “He talks a lot about meditation and what it will do for a person.” Keenan noted that during stressful situations, the immune system is weakened. “The more stress you take on, the worse you eat, the more you sit around—the higher the risk you could catch something, even a common cold.” Although things are difficult, retailers agreed staying productive and trying to be positive is the best way to move forward. “We all work a lot of hours,” Blau said. “There are days and weeks that seem to never end, especially if you’re short-staffed. Spend time with your family, too. It’s important. Take some extra days and be with them.”

The Industry Responds to COVID-19

Kingpin University is offering free online courses during the pandemic to help retailers and technicians stay educated. To take advantage of these sessions, visit The 12V Empire Facebook Group and request to join.

Additionally, Sound Wave Customs is staying connected with its customer base by remaining active on social media. Ehdaivand advised owners and managers to take their health and their family’s health seriously. “The business will figure itself out at some point,” he said. “Good, bad or indifferent—it will figure itself out.” Now is the time to plan how the business will recover when things return to normal, Blau said. “Think about marketing. Plan budgeting, and how to be stronger with less liquid.”

Keenan added, “Work on the structure of your business at this time. When we come through this on the other side, you will have that foundation strengthened and you’ll be able to just take off.” Through creative thinking, businesses can remain relevant during difficult times. During the weekly Mobile Electronics Association roundtable, John Schwartz of Perfectionist Auto Sound and Security underscored this fact. “We can be relevant right now,” he said. “Money is just a side effect of great service.”


 retail news


12-Volt Industry Helps Produce Protective Equipment for Donation to Hospitals During the coronavirus crisis, hospitals’ shortage of personal protective equipment has become a well-known phenomenon. Stories have surfaced around the country of people volunteering their time and materials to make reusable mask covers, as well as other essential PPE to help protect healthcare workers. Jeremy Katz, owner of Stoneham, Massachusetts-based JK Automotive Designs, saw that companies were making 3D-printed straps for face shields. Using that as inspiration, he worked with co-worker Evan Collins to print two straps for two shields. The original design took hours to produce, so Katz and Collins drew their own file. Once designed, they cut it on the shop’s laser machine. This time, the process only took minutes. Also working with them is Katz’s girlfriend, Dalay Parrondo, who has been helping to assemble the shields. “Because of them, we have made hundreds of shields for frontline use,” Katz said. “Also, John Schwartz has made over 300 and delivered them to Alaska hospitals.”

20  Mobile Electronics April 2020

Katz and his team will be making thousands more to distribute to Boston hospitals. Hospitals are also in dire need of intubation boxes, Katz said, and his shop has begun producing them. These boxes help protect doctors and nurses as they work on patients. A doctor at Norwood Hospital in Mass. tested an intubation box made by JK Automotive Designs, as shown in the photo. Katz added that while many 12-volt shops are getting involved in making face shields, others outside the industry are contributing as well. “People in the UK have reached out to me, including doctors who have laser machines at home.” Others in the mobile electronics industry have continued to carry the torch forward. John Schwartz, owner of Anchorage, Alaska-based Perfectionist Auto Sound, said that with Katz’s CAD drawings in hand, he was able to modify the face shield design to his own shop’s lasers. “We’re assembling now and I have more material coming. I’ll be working

until midnight or one a.m. every night to keep up with the hospital demands,” Schwartz said, adding that his goal is to make at least 500. Schwartz went on to note that he was aware of at least 10 to 15 other shops within his circle of industry friends who are getting involved. The primary limitation, however, is that some plastic businesses are closed because of the pandemic, but Perfectionist Auto Sound’s supplier is still open. Schwartz recalled the recession in 2008 and how difficult it was. “In this terrible time we’re going through now, 12-volt can be relevant. People need us right now,” he said. “We can keep going. We can help people because we’re craftsmen. At the end of the day, you just want to be relevant. This gives us a purpose.” And, as always, he added that shops are taking the necessary measures to make sure everyone stays safe. “The industry is coming together,” Katz said. “It’s absolutely amazing.”

High Volume Car Stereo Lends a Hand, Celebrates 31st Anniversary Sometimes charity is the name of the game, especially in the face of a worldwide crisis. Nick Beckman, co-owner of Lawton, Oklahoma-based High Volume Car Stereo, recently posted on Facebook letting other retailers know that the shop had extra product, in case anyone needed it. To add celebration to this act of generosity, High Volume recently reached its 31st year in business. Beckman, who co-owns the business with his wife, noted he wasn’t aiming to sell product. The goal is to help out. Ultimately, he said he would be losing money through paying for shipping. “We have enough stock. I just got my tax season order from Rockford Fosgate,” Beckman said. “I was supposed to get my Kenwood, but I missed it by one

day. They closed California down on the 20th. I ordered on the 19th. I still have some Kenwood.” High Volume also has a fair bit of Hertz and Audison, as well as Metra tech still in stock. “It’s just material stuff, but it could help people who are trying to feed their family, or even if they’re just busy and they need it,” he added. “I’m trying to give back. Our business has grown so much over the last five years. Every year it’s increased. I give a lot of credit to the Mobile Electronics Syndicate, OE Integration, people who teach at KnowledgeFest, guys like John Schwartz and Ken Ward—without that information, I wouldn’t be where I am today, so this is a way for me to return the favor.” In noting High Volume’s anniversary, Beckman highlighted that the business “came from nothing”—once selling the cheapest product, but since moving on through improvement and achieving a level of respect. The shop opened on March 18, 1989.

To celebrate the business’ 31st anniversary, the shop rented a venue in Medicine Park, with roughly 100 people in attendance. Beckman remains committed to protecting his employees as well as his customers during the Coronavirus crisis. As of this writing, High Volume remains open due to being considered essential for its working with the Oklahoma state on interlocks. “There’s a crisis, so we have to take it seriously. I feel like everyone is moving toward being preventative,” Beckman said. “Before we open, all our doors are sanitized, the phones, keyboards. All the vehicles are sanitized before we check them in—door handles. We have hand sanitizer at every station.” Additionally, High Volume is limiting the number of people allowed in the showroom at any one time, ensuring to abide by the restrictions currently put in place by the federal, state, county and city governments.

12-Volt Industry Celebrates the Life of Jay Kent WORDS BY ROSA SOPHIA

On Thursday, April 16 at nine p.m., Eastern time, the industry gathered online to celebrate the life of Jay Kent, who will be missed greatly by all those who knew him. Kent served as the Eastern Regional Sales Manager of ESCORT. Those who attended KnowledgeFest will recall Kent’s popular “bottle share” socials held afterhours. The virtual gathering to honor his memory was hosted by Mobile Electronics Association, and moderated by Mark Miller of Westminster Speed & Sound in Westminster, Md.   21

 retail news

Who’s Who Faces in the Industry Industry Professionals Face the FutureTogether WORDS BY ROSA SOPHIA

Toward the end of March, Mobile Electronics Association held an industry roundtable online for retail owners and managers. Panelists and attendees focused on how the industry can move through this difficult challenge together. The call was attended by at least 125 people. Panelists included Tomas Keenan of Top Class Installations in New York; Jason Kranitz, CEO of Kingpin University; Bryan Schmitt, CEO of Mobile Solutions; and Andy Wehmeyer, CEO of Audiofrog. During the meeting, Chris Cook, president of MEA, said he hopes to hold similar roundtables in future weeks with different panelists, including those who’ve taught at KnowledgeFest and those who have not. Attendees discussed staying safe during the spread of COVID-19, what defines an “essential business” and how to use downtime to focus on strengthening the structure of the business. Numerous other calls have taken place as industry professionals face the future together. Keenan urged listeners to use this time to work on their businesses. “Don’t be stagnant,” he said. Shops should also endeavor to stay in touch with clients via newsletters and social media. Keenan suggested scrolling through a client list and calling at random—just to check in and see how people are doing. “We have to work together to keep the industry strong,” said Ata Ehdaivand of Absolute Electronix in Rockville, Md., adding, “The business will figure itself out—period. Take your health and your family’s health seriously.”

Jeremy Czech Muntz Audio & Video Green Bay, Wis. Years of Industry Experience: 20 Hobbies: Running and Camping What you’re really good at: System Design

Rommel Miranda Car Audio, Radio, & Security Charleston, SC Years of Industry Experience: 15 years+ Hobbies: Cooking What you’re really good at: MIcromanaging

Charlie Whitehead CW Tint Dayton, Texas Years of Industry Experience: 17 What you’re really good at: Thinking ahead toward the outcome of certain situations, then responding accordingly.

22  Mobile Electronics April 2020

2019 New Product Award Runner-up

Discover the Sony XAV-AX8000 large display digital media receiver with anti-glare screen and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto™ support.

3-way adjustable display mount for installation in a variety of vehicles.

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Traditional screen ©2018 Sony Electronics, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Sony and the Sony logos are trademarks of Sony Corporation. Android Auto works with devices using Android 5.0 software or higher. Some devices may not yet support Android Auto, see the Google site for the latest list of compatible devices. Android Auto and its logo are trademarks of Google Inc. Apple CarPlay works with iPhone 5 and newer phones. Apple CarPlay and its logo are trademarks of Apple Inc. Features and specifications are subject to change without notice.   23

 hot sellers

When it comes to objections, retailers focus on staying one step ahead—listening to the customer and looking for solutions to any potential pitfalls or problems. Kicker KX8001 800-Watt Mono Amplifier Submitted by: Kimberly Trainer, Car-Tunes Inc., Greenville, Miss. Main Selling Features: “This product has strong wattage output, a wireless controller and an excellent warranty.” Primary Objection: Price. How to Overcome: “We explain all the extras—more wattage, wireless controller included and a double warranty. For the price difference, it makes for an easy sale.”

Audio Dynamics ADCS622 6.5-Inch Components Submitted by: Justice Berry, Limitless Innovative Solutions Audio, Spring Hill, Kan. Main Selling Features: “The Audio Dynamics 6.5-inch component set is the perfect balance of affordability and performance. The set features a blended wool pulp cone midrange that achieves a realistic tone reproduction, paired with a silk dome tweeter that is capable of competing with speakers that are far greater in cost. Packaged with the tweeter and midrange is a high-end crossover that Audio Dynamics also pairs with its next two tiers of speaker set above the 2200 Series.” Primary Objection: Labor cost to install. How to Overcome: “At this point, we would have questioned our client to the point of overcoming their objections.”

24  Mobile Electronics April 2020   25

 hot sellers Viper DS4 Digital Remote Start System With Bluetooth Submitted by: Dave Clews, 12 Volt Dave’s Audio, Pottsville, Pa. Main Selling Features: “The brand name Viper is what sells this product.” Primary Objection: Price, learning curve and additional parts required. How to Overcome: “We explain to customers how today’s vehicles have much more complex operating systems, and how well-planned the product has been engineered. We also show them how our staff has been well-trained to work with today’s technology.”

Pioneer DMH1500NEX Video Deck With CarPlay and Android Auto Submitted by: Jeff West, Benchmark Audio Inc., Springfield, Ill. Main Selling Features: “Customers enjoy being able to use navigation apps on their Apple or Android devices, while displaying them on this unit’s video screen.” Primary Objection: Missing features. How to Overcome: “Some consumer still want to play CDs or DVDs. This unit doesn’t have that option. We then recommend the next model, which offers CD/DVD playback capabilities.”

26  Mobile Electronics April 2020

Alpine iLX-W650 7-Inch CarPlay/Android Auto Head Unit Submitted by: Seann Ernest, Certified Autosound & Security, Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada Main Selling Features: “This radio has a very clean and elegant appearance. The radio gives you the ability to access some helpful apps from your phone like Google Maps, Waze, Spotify and many others. The radio has Bluetooth calling and audio streaming, so you can listen to music and make calls without having you phone connected. The radio layout also makes it very easy to operate.” Primary Objection: Missing features. How to Overcome: “I will show them another product that has the missing features they are looking for and explain the differences between the two products to make sure they’re purchasing the product they want.”   27

 hot sellers

Pioneer AVH-W4500NEX Wireless Double-DIN Receiver Submitted by: George Smith, Mobileworks-Tintworks, Santa Maria, Calif. Main Selling Features: “This product is all about safety and convenience. We have seen some people who have rented cars, seen the technology and now they want it in their car. This product offers a more enjoyable drive.” Primary Objection: Price. How to Overcome: “We start at wireless units. If the customer is a price shopper, we can always step down to another unit, which will save them money. The customer has to decide which radio he or she most values.”

Thinkware F800PRO HD Dash Cam Submitted by: Keith McCumber, SoundsGood Auto Services, Coquitlam, British Columbia Main Selling Features: “This camera records things in the rain—it rains a lot here—and in the dark better than any other dash cam that I’ve ever seen.” Primary Objection: Price. How to Overcome: “We will point out to the client that the worst thing about recording something that’s important to them is being unable to make out what’s been recorded because of rain or low light. This product solves that problem.”

JL Audio VX800/8i Multi-Channel Amplifier With DSP Main Selling Features: “Car manufacturers spend millions of dollars making their cars sound the way they do, and the customer will still find it unsatisfactory. Now we can tune the customer’s new speakers while taking into account the environment of the interior of their vehicle.” Primary Objection: Price and labor cost to install. How to Overcome: “I talk to them about the equipment we use such as the RTA, measurement mic and O-Scope. I let them know we time align each speaker to specifically deliver the sound to them at the same time, creating a better listening environment.”

28  Mobile Electronics April 2020




Copyright © 2019 AudioControl Inc. All Rights Reserved. | 22410 70th Ave W, Mountlake Terrace, WA 98043 USA | (425) 775-846


 hot sellers

Helix DSP ULTRA Submitted by: Anthony Carranza, Audio Systems, Moreno Valley, Calif. Main Selling Features: “We show the customer that we care about their concern. We are attentive and listen to why they have come to us, and we listen to them explain what the problem is.” Primary Objection: Price. How to Overcome: “We demonstrate the product to the client. When they hear the difference the DSP makes, they want it.”

Sony XAV-AX5000 CarPlay / Android Auto Main Selling Features: “When using CarPlay or Android Auto, the customer is able to have the features of a higher-end navigation unit at a much lower price. Plus, they are also able to have interaction with their phone without having to actually pick up the phone.” Primary Objection: Labor cost to install. How to Overcome: “We offer a lifetime guarantee on our work, and explain the whole install process to our customers, making them more comfortable spending a little more money to have the install done correctly.”

30  Mobile Electronics April 2020


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Having built a solid foundation, LIS Audio is working toward eventually expanding into a second facility and adding additional categories to an already growing list of services. WORDS BY ROSA SOPHIA

32  Mobile Electronics April 2020


real world RETAIL

FAST FACTS Location: Spring Hill, Kansas Number of Locations: 1 Square Footage: 3,500 Type: Garage / Boutique Number of Employees: 2 MAIN FOCUS 40% Car Audio Installation 25% Custom Fabrication 15% Remote Starts & Security 10% UTV, Motorcycle & Marine 5% Lighting & Accessories 5% Window Tint KEY STAFF Owners: Cameron Powell, Justice Berry

Sound Wave Customs’ annual Salepocalypse went on as scheduled on March 13. Although less people attended, a greater number of higher-end products were sold.


n Spring Hill, Kan., LIS Audio—Limitless Innovative Solutions—continues to do business during the spread of COVID-19. The store is owned by business partners Justice Berry and Cameron Powell, who stated the shop is able to remain open because they provide essential services in the form of GPS trackers and ignition interlocks. Open since December 2016, the shop works on everything from custom audio builds to safety, and has extensive plans in place for expansion. “We’ve had about a 30 percent increase in both clientele and profits, each year,” Powell said. “We’ve both been consistently growing our knowledge, practicing new methods and techniques, and we just started revamping our shop again so we can be more efficient.” The business’s mission

34  Mobile Electronics April 2020

is simple: “We like to be limitless in our pursuit of knowledge, innovative in our techniques, and always provide a solution no matter what—Limitless Innovative Solutions.” Currently, Powell and Berry make up a staff of two. They met at a previous job and decided to team up, both feeling that certain aspects of the 12-volt industry weren’t being addressed in their area. Before opening their own store, they visited other shops and felt dissatisfied with their experiences. Most of all, they wanted to create a welcoming atmosphere in their new business. “When you walk into a shop, you want to feel welcome,” Berry said. “We didn’t feel welcome [when we visited other shops]. And we didn’t want people to feel unwelcome when they came to us. When

people are comfortable with you, they’re more inclined to do business with you.” They also felt more shops could improve upon practices in the install bay. “It comes down to simple things like taping off areas while you’re working on them, and using seat covers and steering wheel covers,” Powell said. “We also maintain the battery while we’re working on a vehicle.” During the shop’s first year of business, both men stayed late and worked long hours. Eventually, Powell said, they had to come to grips with this. “If you’re not 100 percent mentally available, you’re wasting your effort and talent,” he explained. “We had to decide to get out of here in good time, so we could come back fresh the next day, ready to accomplish things.”


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real world RETAIL

Referrals From Santa Fe Distributing Helps Boost Business

A Solid Business Structure From the Ground Up The shop has comprehensive plans in place for future growth into multiple categories, according to Powell, including marine audio. Berry often takes clients home or back to their jobs when they drop their cars off at the facility. In the future, this could be expanded into an additional business plan involving local parts deliveries for other shops. The business is also prepared for growth with an employee handbook and contracts. When it comes to hiring additional employees, Powell and Berry said there will be some benefits available. They will also offer commission incentives for employees who handle tasks that aren’t ordinarily part of their job description. “For example, if they take care of inventory, and that’s something they don’t

36  Mobile Electronics April 2020

ordinarily do, they’ll get a small bump in commission,” Powell said. “If it’s an installer who also works in sales, they’ll get a commission on whatever they sell.” Any employees will be required to attain MECP certification. Berry noted there will be a grace period in which an employee will be expected to earn their certification if they wish to remain in their position. “We are also going to implement sales certification,” he added. To help bring in new staff, and attract people to the industry, Powell said they have plans to educate the public and do outreach at a local technical school for high-school age kids. “We want to help young people find out if this is something they’d like to do,” Powell said, adding, “This will also help us find new hires.” The shop is prepared with detailed hiring plans for all categories or

The shop doesn’t stock very much product because the distributor is close by, according to Berry and Powell, who added they’re able to get most of what they need from Santa Fe Distributing. “We’ve been working with them since the beginning,” Powell said. “We did a custom vehicle for their owner. He brought us his 1996 Ford F-250 and we did a full demo build for Massive Audio. He’s got maybe 20 vehicles, and the guys who work for them at the closest location tell us he drives that thing four days out of the week because of what we did in it. It helps spread the word.” Additionally, he added, if people call the distributor asking for a shop reference, they will recommend LIS Audio. Right now, some top sellers at the shop include AudioControl and Metra. “We do a lot of Metra including dash kits, wiring harnesses, amp kits and RCAs,” Powell said. “AudioControl amps are a best seller for us. We can satisfy our clientele with a good price point. Their amps are fantastic and so are their processors.” Both Powell and Berry are excited about the recent addition of Morel to their product line-up. “Audiophiles know about Morel. We met the rep in Dallas at KnowledgeFest. Casey has been great about getting products out quickly,” Powell said. “A lot of business referrals show how supported we are by our distributor.”


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We set small goals and achieve them quickly. We also avoid becoming overwhelmed with too many larger goals.

38  Mobile Electronics April 2020

Currently, LIS Audio is reorganizing the shop with a focus on efficiency and increased productivity. In the future, they may section off areas of the bay. For now, the shop has an open floor plan with plenty of room for growth.


real world RETAIL

Remote Start Special Attracts New Client Base

departments—which will continue to grow as the business grows. One plan includes fleet work. “We haven’t contracted any because it’s just the two of us,” Powell said. However, they’re prepared with an entire sales plan for fleet and commercial accounts. “We want to include integrated audio, remote starts, GPS trackers and safety sensors.” Plans are in the works for a second facility once they have a staff, according to Berry and Powell. The current building would be used for fabrication purposes, while they envision using the new location for basic installation. The timeline, they added, depends on how quickly the business can build a team. After walking into the front of the building, Berry and Powell said the entire shop is visible. The garage is on the left, with offices on the right. “Our fabrication area is across the garage on the far

40  Mobile Electronics April 2020

end. Everything is wide open,” Powell said, adding that in the future, they may section things off. “On the back wall, we have our test bench, tool boxes and other work areas.” The latest shop revamp, now in progress, will be geared toward increased productivity. “We put up some new shelves. We put up more cabinets, and we’re installing new router tables,” Powell said. “We have more peg boards so we can re-organize. We’re also about to build another big work station.” Currently, LIS Audio is appointment-only, and the front door stays locked. “The only time we get anyone walking straight in is if we have our garage doors open on a nice day.” Consistency in Goal-Setting Leads to Increased Revenue With a solid foundation in place, Powell said he and Berry feel that consistency and setting smaller goals have led

Clients tend not to realize that LIS Audio does more than custom fabrication, according to Powell. “We’ve had potential clients say, ‘Oh, this is just something little. I don’t think you do that.’ But we will do that remote start. We will just put a stereo in your car,” he said. “We have to make sure we appeal to those folks as well.” To help show the community that LIS Audio offers a whole range of services, they planned a special on remote starts. “I think it worked well,” Powell said. “We knocked off $100. We made the money on labor, and a little bit on product. Our distributor was running a good special for us at the time which allowed us to do that.” It was the shop’s first time attempting a special sale. They only advertised on Facebook, and used the boost feature. However, Powell said most of the shop’s posts grow organically. “We just wanted to see what kind of traffic the special would stir up. We’ll probably do it again, and set a goal this time,” he added. When they booked the remote starts, they often scheduled it over the phone. A client wasn’t always correct about the year of the vehicle. “We don’t keep product here, so if it’s wrong, it might delay us a few hours,” Powell said. “Things go smoother when they come in for a consultation, but because of the kind of special we were running, it was more efficient to talk on the phone and have them bring it in.” If they could do anything differently, Powell and Berry said they would get the VIN number from the client to ensure they acquired the right product. “We’re thinking about doing another campaign—maybe a custom fab advertisement to reach more of the city,” he added.














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real world RETAIL

Helping to Build a Community Park

Justice Berry and Cameron Powell opened LIS Audio in December of 2016, intending to bring better service and higher-quality installation practices to their local area.

to increased visibility in the community and an increase in revenue each year. “We set small goals and achieve them quickly,” Powell said. “We also avoid becoming overwhelmed with too many larger goals.” Rather than have a showroom with interactive displays, the shop prefers to utilize demo vehicles. “We have clients come back who are willing to let us show their vehicles to potential customers,” Powell said. This is done mainly for extensive custom installations. Powell and Berry will see the new client at least twice before moving forward with a project. If the client is interested in viewing a demonstration, the shop will reach out to a previous client who hired the shop for a similar project. Then, Powell said, the client has a real experience to give them an idea of what these products would sound like in their own vehicle. Most clients come to the shop through word-of-mouth due to the way in which the two men have built the business, and

42  Mobile Electronics April 2020

very little is spent on marketing. “We made our name by doing good work,” Powell explained, stating that when they first started, they were always willing to travel to clients’ homes, their jobs or wherever they were. This increased their positive reputation in the Kansas City area and helped them build revenue to open a physical location. “The most of what we’ve done in terms of advertising is a 30-day boost on Facebook once a year, and that’s it,” Powell added. Clients range from teenagers with new cars, to older men looking for full custom projects. The facility stands between the countryside and the edge of suburbia, so they attract both city dwellers and those who live in the country. Taking the Next Step Forward Powell and Berry both attend trainings held by their local distributor, as well as KnowledgeFest. The shop adheres to MECP practices, while trying to go above and beyond. Powell cited vehicle grounds

Powell and Berry have been helping to build a community park in the town where the shop is located, an initiative that began in 2018. It will offer a skate park, a bike track and other amenities. “Justice rides in bike tournaments,” Powell said, “and I skateboard. We wanted to help our community somehow.” After attending town meetings, he said, they learned there was local demand for sidewalks and areas for kids to play. “There aren’t many places for kids to get their energy out, or for young adults to hang,” he added. “We set out to find a solution to that problem.” They teamed up with a friend, Derek Buckridge, to take plans to the city for approval. “All three of us looked at different lots in town, and reached out to developers and skatepark companies to see which lots would be ideal,” Powell said. “We put together a proposal for the city and pitched ideas. They jumped on board immediately.” Additionally, they teamed up with Spring Hill Inspiration for Teens (SHIFT), a local organization founded to reduce teen suicides in the area. “The design of the park is coming along now, and we will start to really raise funds in the second half of this year,” Powell said, adding that between SHIFT and the park committee, over $16,000 has been raised for the park. The shop also held a car show to raise money. “We’ve also helped SHIFT with events outside of our shows, like the Spring Hill Fall Festival. We have plans to help out more this year,” they added.

LIMITLESS PURSUIT as an example. “We will run a full ground from the front to the back of the vehicle so we aren’t messing with sheet metal. We don’t want to have bad grounds, because that equalsnoise and other troublesome issues,” he explained. One of the shop’s custom builds recently sold at auction for $154,000, according to Powell. “It was a 1970 Charger. We took care of the electrical work, and reeducated the car builder on vehicle wiring. It had starting problems when he brought it in, and when the car left, it had no issues,” he said, adding that the car builder had initially used the wrong gauge wire. “We also did custom kick panels, a full trunk build and added lighting accents.” The shop was also named a Top 50 Retailer for the second time in three years. “We’ve had awesome growth,” they said. “In our third year in business, we’re on firmer ground.” Their goal for the coming year is to build a team so the shop can continue to grow and expand. “Just finding employees has been our biggest problem,” Powell said, adding that the workload continues to increase in volume, and it’s becoming a bit too much for two people. Powell feels the team at LIS Audio will grow as the business grows. “As long as we keep doing what we’re doing, those who really want to be involved will show up,” he said. “They’ll want to come here and be part of a Top 50 Retailer.”   43

 strategy & tactics

“I want you to know that even though everything feels out of your control right now, you have the power to change the trajectory of any part of your life in every single moment.”

IDENTIFYING & OVERCOMING NEGATIVE HABITS & BEHAVIORS In the face of these difficult times, what actions can we take today to work toward a brighter future? WORDS BY JON KOWANETZ

In a time not so long ago, many in our industry would leave their shops for a few days every few months to fly across the country to attend KnowledgeFest—spending a weekend in packed training seminars, shaking hands with strangers on a buzzing show floor and sharing drinks with friends at the hotel bar. Although it feels like much longer, it’s been under two months since the last time this semi-annual networking event took place, since I was last able to speak

44  Mobile Electronics April 2020

to my colleagues about a topic so near and dear to my heart. In February at KnowledgeFest Long Beach, I presented a class on Identifying and Overcoming Negative Habits and Behaviors. Afterward, many attendees let me know the class was very helpful, and they felt more empowered to take control of areas of their lives that had been causing them problems. Excited by their enthusiasm, I sat down with MEA leaders and agreed to repeat this class, and more,

at all of the remaining 2020 events. And then, the world changed. About a week into my self-imposed isolation due to the spread of COVID-19, I had already done so much to improve my business, Handcrafted Auto Marine & Off-road, while working from home. I reconciled our financial accounts, reorganized items and accounts lists in QuickBooks, created a timeline for tasks to keep my employees busy and on payroll and, of course, I did everything I

Identifying and Overcoming Negative Habits and Behaviors

could to get my company in line for government financial assistance programs. I felt a great sense of pride and accomplishment at checking these long overdue items off of my to-do list. But at the same time, I also felt a strange mix of anxiety and apathy that it all might be for nothing if we are unable to get this situation under control. As I often do, whenever life challenges me, I sat down at my kitchen table to write about my thoughts and to get some perspective on the problem. It didn’t take long for me to remember that the only thing I have any control over at any time is my own actions. Taking control of them in the past had created the best possible outcome in so many bad situations. Maybe doing the same thing now could make the best out of this situation, too. When there is so much that seems out of our control, and our normal daily routine is drastically upended, it is understandable to feel helpless and maybe even a little hopeless. This new reality of social distancing, and wearing masks and gloves to go grocery shopping, happened so quickly that we’ve had no time to adjust. The temptation to escape this new reality for a little while is real. Combine this with stay-at-home orders, and

it can almost feel like there’s nothing you can do but watch TV, sleep or drink a few beers to numb it away. Instead, ask yourself: What actions am I taking right now and what kind of outcome might these actions produce? Don’t misunderstand me: There is nothing wrong with turning your brain off for a little while by watching a guy who’s all business in the front and party in the back call himself the Tiger King! Take time to unwind every now and then. But if you find yourself lying on the couch absently gazing at the TV for a majority of your day, you may want to ask yourself

“Take some time

to think about the circumstances in

which you tend to

overindulge in this

destructive substance or behavior”

where these actions might lead you. The curve will flatten one day. The death toll will start to fall. The world will emerge from this in some undeterminable way in which we all have very little control. The only thing we have absolute control over is how we emerge from this situation as individuals, by controlling the actions we choose to take in each moment.

How will you emerge from this situation? Can you listen to that little voice inside you that’s saying, “Yeah, I probably shouldn’t be doing that so much,” or “Maybe I should be spending a little bit more time…” On what? What is it that you know, deep down inside, if you keep doing it, you are not going to come out of this situation the way you want to? Are you drinking too much or eating poorly? Not getting enough exercise? Consuming so much media that all you can think about are the worst scenarios? What could you be doing to make the most out of this situation? Should you be spending more quality time with your family or reaching out to loved ones if you are sheltered in place alone? Is there a new hobby you could pick up or a skillset you could learn? Maybe it’s time to read the book you kept saying you’d get around to. Or maybe it’s the perfect time to slow down, breathe and be grateful   45

 strategy & tactics

“Once you’ve made the decision to change, you’ll want to put

together a support team you can lean on when things get tough.” that you still can. I want you to know that even though everything feels out of your control right now, you have the power to change the trajectory of any part of your life in every single moment. You just need to ask yourself the right questions.

What is my problem? The first step to overcoming any real challenge in life is to identify the problem. Chances are, you won’t need to take a lot of time to figure out what the problem is. It has likely come to the forefront of your mind already. How could my life be better? Once you have a clear idea of what’s causing a problem, try to imagine how your life might improve if you no longer

had a problem with this specific substance or behavior. Whether you imagine that you might finally get your bathroom remodel done if you turn off the TV more often, or get into the best shape of your life by putting down the Doritos and picking up some weights, the same goal has been fulfilled—to give you a positive future to move toward, and away from the problem you have identified.

you have left to a gambling addiction, or spend it all buying things you don’t need because you’re bored. Maybe your marriage, which may have already been on the rocks, will come to its final and messy conclusion when your partner sees that even in the most desperate of times, you still won’t step up and do what needs to be done. What’s the worst scenario you can imagine?

How could my life get worse? Obvious as it may seem, this step is about getting real with yourself about the potential consequences to your life if you do not change your destructive behaviors. Maybe your poor diet and lack of exercise will lead to obesity, diabetes or heart failure. Maybe you’ll lose whatever money

Why do I keep doing it? In the face of all of this evidence that a life lived without this problem would be better and that, if you don’t get a handle on this problem you may not have a life to live at all, why would you keep doing it? What is it about this substance or behavior that you enjoy so much that you’d risk it all just to keep doing it? Don’t let yourself off the hook here: The answer to this question will show you what really drives you to do these things, despite what you may be telling yourself. Am I ready to change? Plain and simple, this is the step where you make the decision to either continue doing what you have already identified will make your life worse, or you will decide to make one small change in this moment—one small step toward that better life you imagined in step two. Make no mistake, there is no third option here, not with this much evidence right in front of you. Choosing not to change is choosing to stay the same. Who can I lean on for support? Once you’ve made the decision to change, you’ll want to put together a support team you can lean on when things get tough. This could be something as simple and impersonal as a paid trainer to motivate you to get in that workout when you don’t feel like it. Or it could be a group of loved ones who can help you remember why you decided to get control over your prescription pill problem in the first place, when that old pain reliever calls your name from the medicine

46  Mobile Electronics April 2020

Identifying and Overcoming Negative Habits and Behaviors cabinet. It’s only when we try to take all of the weight on our own shoulders, that it becomes too heavy and we falter.

What boundaries do I need to put in place? Take some time to think about the circumstances in which you tend to overindulge in this destructive substance or behavior which you identified in step one. Are you bored? Anxious? Lonely? Sad? Angry? We’re never trying to numb away a good feeling with multiple shots of whiskey, or escape a positive situation by mindlessly scrolling through social media. With a clear idea of the types of scenarios that will trigger this behavior, create some personal boundaries to keep yourself out of them. Splitting a large bag of snacks into multiple, single servings is an easy one. So is setting the sleep timer on the TV so you don’t watch more than you intended to. Even avoiding the people with whom you tend to get into trouble might not be so hard anymore, now that you can’t even leave your house! How will I track my progress? They say that if you don’t know where you want to go, you’ll never get there. Well, I think that’s true. But I also believe that if you forget where you came from, it’s all too easy to go back. So, keep a journal, take lots of pictures, post it all over social media or do whatever you need to do to document the progress you’ve made toward learning to live your life without the crutches you once relied on to keep you on your feet. Who knows? You just might emerge from this situation better than you went in and ready to hit the ground running! That is, once you can go outside again, of course.

The Easiest Way to Install BlindSpot Radar. In-Vehicle LED Indicator

Jon Kowanetz of Handcrafted is also the author of the book Life Without Crutches, which will be available by May 1, 2020. Learn more about the book and the podcast at

In-Vehicle LED Indicator




BSS2LPBC Built-in Backup camera






Pre-Adjusted Sensor Angle ---No More Angle Adjustments Necessary

BSS2LPBC BlindSpot Radar with Built-in Camera   47

 tech today


Creating Integration Solutions for Everyday Installs 48  Mobile Electronics April 2020

Using the LGD line of products from AudioControl, technicians can skip the guesswork and frustration of integrating audio in many late model vehicles


. Adjust your own color experience with the Rockford Fosgate Color Optix™ plug-and-play controller and App (Sold Separately) . Integrated Deutsch™ and Amphenol™ connections provide industry leading marine plug-and-play connectivity . M2 delivers exceptional power handling and is designed to work with the most powerful of amplifiers

Learn more at:   49

 tech today Product AudioControl AC-LGD Product Lineup The AC-LGD, AC-LGD20, & AC-LGD60 (LGD stands for Load Generating Device.) Application Any modern vehicle whose OEM head unit or outboard “premium” sound system amplifier uses a class D chipset. Note that this is the vast majority of vehicles on the road today. Issue When a class D chipset doesn’t “see” an impedance load on its outputs, the chipset becomes unstable. Unstable can mean many things. It might mean the output of the amplifier chip will be audibly distorted like in many modern Honda vehicles. Or it could mean there will be distortion in the system that is above our hearing range, which will damage tweeters, such as in the Ford F-150s with Sony premium sound. However, in many cases, it means a no-sound condition is present on that particular channel, or even throughout the entire system. This no-sound condition is most commonly found in 2018 & newer Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep, Ram, Fiat, Maserati and Alfa Romeo vehicles. Solution The solution is to “show” the class D chip what it wants to “see” by placing a filter with a resistive load in line to keep it stable and outputting sound. We accomplish this by using one of the three offerings in the LGD product line from AudioControl.

50  Mobile Electronics April 2020   51

 tech today We have three unique models, each with a specific application. AC-LGD For all modern vehicles, from approx. 2005-2018 AC-LGD 20 For 2018 and newer vehicles with a basic (non-premium, or “non-amplified”) OE sound system. AC-LGD 60 For 2018 and newer vehicles with a “premium”, or “amplified” OE sound system. In the Field A customer wants to upgrade their sound system, while maintaining their OEM head unit and its associated features. Most shops will suggest new speakers, a subwoofer, amplifier(s), and an integration device such as an AudioControl LC7i active line converter. The speaker leads coming from the OE head unit’s outputs now will be routed to the LC7i as an input source, rather than powering the speakers directly. The problem is, when the vehicle is started, the OE head unit will find a fault with the sound system, causing it to have no sound output. Please note that this issue can be tricky to initially detect, since many systems will play fine until the first time the vehicle is shut down or the BCM goes to sleep. Often, even quickly reconnecting the OEM speakers may not remedy the situation. In most vehicles, the battery will need to be disconnected for a few minutes to reset the vehicle’s modules and the chipset inside the OE head unit or amplifier that’s causing the problem. An improper install will resulting in a no-sound condition. The technician can take steps to fix the issue using this product.

52  Mobile Electronics April 2020

Creating Integration Solutions for Everyday Installs

Add SiriusXM



Single Piece OF Hardware

T E C H N O L O G Y   53

 installs

Lighting Up the Night A classic Monte Carlo gets a custom trunk and a new system, with sleek LEDs to highlight the careful attention to detail that went into this stellar install. Submitted by: Ethan Blau, Sound Wave Customs, Virginia Beach, Va.


he classy, detailed build on this 1981 G-Body Chevrolet Monte Carlo was a team effort at Sound Wave Customs. Adam Perkins completed the majority of the fabrication, while Stephen Krell and Ethan Blau assisted in the design of the build. The build incorporated three JL Audio 10W6v3-D4’s, one JL Audio RD1500.1 for the subwoofers, and one JL Audio VX600/6i for the interior speakers. The team also installed the following products:

54  Mobile Electronics April 2020   55

 installs • • • • •

One C2-400x dash speakers Two Mx650 marine 6.5-inch coax with blue LEDs, one pair per door One Sony MEX-GS820BT source unit One T-Spec V12-RAK1-0 Five SSTRL Ballistic Tri-Layer sound dampening material for the vehicle The build utilized all T-Spec RCA interconnects and speaker wiring, plus two JL Audio XB-BTU battery terminals. Heise LED lighting highlights this sleek ride, along with a Racesport LED underbody lighting kit. The team custom built a subwoofer enclosure on the rear shelf of the trunk, along with custom fabricated amplifier mounting racks in the sides of this G-Body. Aluminum accent inserts were hand-routered and polished to match the factory taillight trim as well as accent the build. The Monte Carlo crest, custom designed and laser-cut in-house, serves as a centerpiece of the custom trunk as well as a center subwoofer grille. The team’s goal was to create a three-dimensional look, topped off with hidden accent LED lighting. The amplifier cover windows were designed and laser-etched with a lacestyle pattern and also back-lit with LED lighting. The entire trunk was lined with sound dampening material and carpeted. Finally, the vehicle’s electrical system was upgraded to support the install. The results were a classy complement with upgraded sound to this classic Chevrolet Monte Carlo.

56  Mobile Electronics April 2020


Be safe! Wirelessly control your phone and keep your focus on the road.

Android Screen Mirroring Š2019 Kenwood and Kenwood eXcelon are registered trademarks of JVCKenwood in the United States and may be a registered trademark, or trademark,   in other countries. All other third-party product names, brand names and logos are trademarks their respective owners.


from the President

HOW DO WE GET THERE FROM HERE? Our industry’s past success will show us a roadmap for the future if we dig deep and remember we are the innovators and entrepreneurs of mobile electronics. All of us—every installer, salesperson, manager, owner, sales rep, manufacturer and industry reps—make up a dynamic group which we proudly call the mobile electronics industry. We are all subject to setbacks and triumphs, and right now we are in the midst of a crisis. Each day, we try to move the needle in the right direction, hoping to secure the future for our respective companies and ourselves. Though we’ve started with our best intentions, we’re often met with disappointment. It appears we all want the same thing, but the results are not comprised of the same victories we enjoyed in the past. We meet in online forums to get on the same page or discuss approaches to problem-solving, but we end up with the same results. We brainstorm, analyze and decide, only to realize the outcome is simply a different method to achieve the same end. We must make every effort to remove doubt, uncertainty and fear so every decision produces a calculated result and moves us closer to reaching our goals. Remember: Failure teaches us to continue to challenge the problem until we produce outcomes that ensure our survival. So, what is the problem? The way I see it, the mobile electronics industry is facing our most significant challenge since the beginnings of the industry back in the 1970s. We must address complex issues and create innovative solutions in the midst of a global problem none of us have ever faced before. Consumers need to be able to continue enjoying the latest technologies in their vehicles while feeling comfortable and safe as they return to your retail stores. What should this look like as life begins to return to normal? None of us know the timeline, and none of us have the solution for how we will market and sell in this new environment. It will be uncomfortable at first. We will need to share our findings, both positive and negative. This is necessary, as the results of these new business procedures are unpredictable. We must learn from our own mistakes, as well as the mistakes of others, while never repeating the elements that fall short of what we define as great success. As an industry, we must dig deep and come together to produce success that will secure our future. We need to think through the current situation and look for the best way to provide innovative solutions for positive change. If our businesses

58  Mobile Electronics April 2020

are to survive, we must grasp tried and true methods that always produce results by moving forward in a calculated manner while never losing our focus on the core principles that produced our successes in the first place. Of course, we all suffer from too much to do and the constant pressure produced by the next available opportunity. Our past is filled with days, weeks and months that have turned into years. Years that, on occasion, provide us with unpleasant dismay when we see our mistakes.

As an industry, we must dig deep and come together to produce success that will secure our future. We need to think through the current situation and look for the best way to provide innovative solutions for positive change. As we look for the new normal, we should all be studying other retail segments to see how they are overcoming current challenges with innovative solutions. If change is equal to our survival, then why do so many of us lose direction during times like these? As an industry, we face the ultimate challenge: to exist. Social distancing, and the ways in which we’ve had to adjust, causes us to look at our past for accomplishments and draw ideas from them. We must embrace change, create a clear roadmap to success and offer innovative solutions that provide hope for our customers. We are not on the losing team. With every calculated step, we seek to solidify our future as an industry. We must have hope that our innovations and ideas will carry us through the mire to build a firm foundation for our collective futures. I really believe the future of our industry is a bright one for those of us who never give up and focus on what is always in front of us—great people with great ideas. This is what has sustained us so far, and I think it will also carry us through. Stay safe and healthy, my friends!

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premier learning and product showcase event for the mobile electronics industry

To Be Announced

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July 10-12, 2020

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August 14-16, 2020

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