real world RETAIL
Ocala Car Audio has built a name for itself by hosting and attending local events and weekend Bike Nights. The shop has entered the new year aiming to increase revenue in the motorcycle audio category through grassroots marketing. WORDS BY ROSA SOPHIA
Prior to opening Ocala Car Audio in Ocala, Fla., Parish Tanner worked in installation, sales, distribution and as a rep. Then, in 2008, he started installing at his home garage before moving to a retail location and joining with a business partner. “We were growing 15 to 18 percent per year,” Tanner said. In 2014, he and his business partner separated, and revenue dropped significantly. “I moved to a smaller shop with a smaller staff, but since 2015, we’ve had about 15 to 20 percent growth each year.” Tanner attributes this growth to the shop’s grassroots marketing and community outreach. While return on investment can take longer to achieve, the efforts have paid off. Tanner said he hasn’t had the time to put together email newsletters because the shop stays so busy. However, he added that he’s planning to try it again soon to help keep the shop top-of-mind for current and previous customers.
Consistent Business Year-Round Ocala Car Audio has a staff of seven people, including two installers, a window tint technician and a salesperson. The team completes anywhere from
seven to 12 cars per day, depending on how busy the shop is. “In window tint, we usually do three to six cars per day,” he said. “Each installer works on one to two cars per day, sometimes three to five.” He added that the focus is to sell to the masses. “We don’t do as much ‘trendy’ stuff,” he said, noting that super high-end custom builds aren’t as profitable for the shop. “We just want to build good-sounding cars.” Tanner equated it to high-end cars versus vehicles marketed to the average person. “The Ford family built the most amount of cars and they service more people,” he said. “That’s who we are. We’re like the Ford of car audio. We aren’t trying to be super high-end.” Business is consistent year-round, and the shop is usually booked out at least a week. During hotter months, Tanner said, it’s booked four to eight weeks in advance. The slowest time of the year is August. “We do have a little bit of a dip, but we are pretty consistent across the board.”
Bike Nights Draw in New Clients So far, Tanner said the best form of marketing for the shop is word-of-mouth along with grassroots feet-on-thepavement interaction with the local community. Though it can take a while to
26 Mobile Electronics February / March 2020
gain business from hosting and attending events, Tanner said the shop has found it an effective tool that makes a slow-and-steady difference over time. The motorcycle category has grown the most over the last few years. Rockford Fosgate is currently the shop’s most popular brand for motorcycle audio, according to Tanner, who also anticipates Arc Audio, Power Bass and Stinger to grow in popularity in the coming year. Tanner bought a motorcycle in 2015 and started attending bike nights in 2017. When he got into the motorcycle market, he added, “I wanted to be fully in