Contacts: Andrew Wiatrak, Owner, Sensation Design Group, Minneapolis, Minn.
October 5, 2006

Andrew Wiatrak, a custom retailer who specializes in high-end home and boat automation projects, has come to believe over the years that advertising is a waste of his resources. “We are reasonably small,” says Wiatrak of his business, Sensation Design Group, which has been called the best Crestron dealer in the mid-West by Crestron Sales Manager Craig Gulley, “but we turn some big numbers because we’ve learned how to handle clients. Word of mouth has done it for us.” Wiatrak has a singular approach to handling his clientele. Aside from the typical wining, dining and project proposal etiquette, he’s learned to create low-key fun

Shop Talk: Craig Gulley, Crestron Midwest Regional Sales Manager
October 4, 2006

“The only thing that hasn’t been improved in the home over the last thirty years is the light switch. That’ll change in the next five years. The part of home automation that will turn the tide for the average person is lighting control. Not just in closets or around garages, but throughout the house. Lighting control will sell like granite countertops.” -Craig Gulley, Crestron Midwest Regional Sales Manager

People on the Move
September 29, 2006

Klipsch Group Americas, distribution company for the Klipsch and Jamo speaker brands, announced that Bill Harrell has been promoted to vice president of Jamo U.S. In his new position, Harrell is responsible for overseeing distribution, channel and category strategies for the Jamo brand in North and South America. Harrell joined Klipsch in 1995 as a sales representative and assumed leadership roles that included director of sales for the residential contracting division and, more recently, national sales manager for the company’s specialty retail and contractor business. Crestron named Randy Surovy as its new Manager of Channel Development. Randy will be responsible for managing all customer training

Vutec Now RS-232 and IP Protocol Friendly
September 20, 2006

Vutec’s new Systems Integrator Kit allows for the company’s motorized products to work and play well with RS-232 and IP protocols. The affected products include ceiling and projector lifts, rising arm and retractable projection screens and multi-aspect ratio masking systems which all operate off of low voltage relays or RF and IR controls. These products can now work on standard protocols that make them able to interface with control systems by AMX, Crestron and Lexicon, among others. Says Vutec Vice President of sales and marketing Kevin R. Baisley, “Vutec is empowering end-users in the video sector to more easily manage a

A $300,000 Home Cinema Room and a $70,000 Plasma TV? Welcome to Texas.
September 1, 2006

Last night, the Dallas Cowboys played their last preseason game, an event akin to a major holiday in the affluent Dallas suburb of Highland Park. There, a high-profile custom retailer, Starpower, opened its second store with a party showing off the Cowboys’ every play on a rare LG 71-inch plasma flat panel, the largest plasma available for sale in the world right now (price tag: $70,000). The new Starpower store was designed by architect Phil White, who’d previously designed retail space for The Limited and Victoria’s Secret. “A lot of architects are slow to understand home theater technology,” said White, “but it’s a must

Marketing Design
November 1, 2005

How Hifi House partnered with a local magazine to showcase its talents to thousands—up close and personal By David Dritsas Here's a question for small retailers: If you could have nearly 5,000 potential customers walk through your retail showroom in a period of a few short weeks, would you do it? On top of that, how would you like nearly 10 months of editorial exposure in a local lifestyle magazine to go along with it? A resounding "yes" would be the answer for most dealers. At Broomall, Pa.'s Hifi House, that's almost exactly what they were able to do by striking a partnership with

Prospect or Suspect?
October 1, 2005

How to say "no" to business—and be better for it. By Greg Nettles Being an unpaid consultant is no way to make a living. The trick is to identify the people with whom you really want to do business, and build your relationships from there. To accomplish this, you need to engage in some seemingly harsh practices. Teach your sales force to pick and choose from the customers coming through your door. Ask your customers to pay for proposals. Create estimates for any necessary walk-throughs. These approaches seem contrary to customer satisfaction, but if done right, they'll ensure customer satisfaction, as well as a profitable business over the

HTSA Names Award Winners
December 28, 2004

Home Theater Specialists of America (HTSA) is announced the annual winners of the HTSA vendor awards for 2004. Every year, HTSA recognizes outstanding vendors and individuals in six categories. The HTSA Vendor of the Year for 2004 is SpeakerCraft. The Most Profitable Vendor is Monster Cable. The Most Supportive Vendor is Sharp Electronics. The Best Product for 2004 is the Mitsubishi WD65725. The Custom Product of the Year is Crestron's TPMC-10. The Man of the Year is Max Wasinger of Mitsubishi. The awards will be formally be presented at the HTSA Cocktail Party at CES on January 5, 2005

CES Recap- Audio Plays Big at CES
February 1, 2004

Manufacturer's Hope Is In New Technologies By David Dritsas Despite the growing market for consumer electronics overall, audio is still lagging as a category. But at this year's CES, new technologies and strengthening alliances showed they could help boost the market for the coming year. HD Radio At the forefront of this promise is HD Radio. Prior to the show, iBiquity Digital, the company behind digital radio technology, joined retailer Ultimate Electronics in launching the sale of the first consumer-ready model, a Kenwood HD Receiver for the car (model KTC-HR100 $399), at a store in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. And it looks like more

Install Now- Are we happier?
November 15, 2003

Phil Kingery CEDIA Instructor PCC Products Manager Advanced Control Technology In the movie Contact, talk show host Larry King asks Matthew McConaughey's character, Palmer Joss, "Are you anti-technology? Are you anti-science?", to which he replies, "No, not at all. The question I'm asking is, are we happier? As a human race, is the world fundamentally a better place because of science and technology? We shop at home, we surf the Web, but at the same time, we feel emptier, lonelier, and more cut off from each other than at any other time in history." We make our living with technology, specifically technology intended