As it celebrates its 35th anniversary, ListenUp is a remarkably diversified example of what can happen when passion meets market forces on an ongoing basis.
Founded as an audiophile haven (read: stereo store) by Walt and Mary Kay Stinson and Steven Weiner in 1972, Denver-based ListenUp now operates three hybrid custom/retail locations, corporate offices that house a Keith Yates-designed reference theater, a pro/commercial business with its own retail operation, a pure-custom design center with its own outside sales force, a service center, and an e-commerce Web site serving largely out-of-state customers. All this is backed by an annual source book promoting ListenUp’s product, services and company culture.
Weiner and Stinson were college buddies bonded by interests in music, film and high-end audio. “We knew more about audio and video at 22 and 23 years of age than most of the people we knew who ran stores,” Weiner said. “They didn’t have the passion for the equipment that we did, and didn’t know the equipment as well as we did. We wanted to represent and sell the best audio equipment there was and, as they say, save the world from bad sound.”