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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For years I have enjoyed shopping at this small specialty high end audio dealer. Thei dealer carries BW loudspeakers, Rotel, Grado. Sharp Vision, Niles, Denon, Dyne Audio, Poineer Elite, Carver Audio and Velydine.


While I was in this shop the other day the owner is downsizing and renting out half of his space. He is going from 3,000 square feet to 1,500 square feet. Could this be the end of his bussiness? He had 3 locations in the metropitan area and he just shut down one of his locations on June 1st. That brings this shop down to a 2 store family.


This guy tells me that most of his bussiness is custom installation. His stoer is called Sound Factor.

www.soundfactor.com



Sound Factor carries the full line of Dyn Aduio,BW loadspeakers, recievers and subwoffers in his showroom for people to audition. The part of his showroom that he is giving up housed home theater projectors.
 

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Could just be him. Has he got onto the home theater gravy train, or is he still clinging to old ideas about where the money in the business is?


Or maybe he's making the same mistake you are, thinking that he is our should be anything like Tweeter, etc. They got crushed in the middle - neither low- or high-end - too pricey for the internet era and bargain shoppers, and the wrong service and product levels for true high end.
 

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Most shops that are successful today are like Sound Factor. They make the majority of their money in custom high-end installs. There isn't nearly as much business as there used to be in the retail sales of audio gear. Those businesses relied on long time customers, and many of those customers are smart shoppers who will seek bargains online. Retail stores can't sell at online prices and expect to make money. He's probably downsizing his retail space so that he still has enough of a presence to bring customers in, and let them know they still have a place to go for high end installs. I imagine he keeps very little on his actual showroom floor though.


I wouldn't be worried that he's going away completely, but anytime a business owner can make as much money and cut expenses at the same time I guarantee they'll do it every time.
 

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He's definitely part of the trend. The business is moving to video and custom installation. There simply isn't an audio market big enough to support specialty audio-only shops outside large cities.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Will0329 /forum/post/14184639


For years I have enjoyed shopping at this small specialty high end audio dealer. Thei dealer carries BW loudspeakers, Rotel, Grado. Sharp Vision, Niles, Denon, Dyne Audio, Poineer Elite, Carver Audio and Velydine.


While I was in this shop the other day the owner is downsizing and renting out half of his space. He is going from 3,000 square feet to 1,500 square feet. Could this be the end of his bussiness? He had 3 locations in the metropitan area and he just shut down one of his locations on June 1st. That brings this shop down to a 2 store family.


This guy tells me that most of his bussiness is custom installation. His stoer is called Sound Factor.

www.soundfactor.com



Sound Factor carries the full line of Dyn Aduio,BW loadspeakers, recievers and subwoffers in his showroom for people to audition. The part of his showroom that he is giving up housed home theater projectors.

Murray and Jack. !! Been a long time since I talked to those guys.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by lwien /forum/post/14185012


Murray and Jack. !! Been a long time since I talked to those guys.

Murray and Jack are still running Sound Factor. They closed their Santa Monica location June 1st. The Encino location is being downsized from 3,000 square feet to 1,500 square feet. Their Pasadena location is going to stay as is.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Will0329 /forum/post/14185221


Murray and Jack are still running Sound Factor. They closed their Santa Monica location June 1st. The Encino location is being downsized from 3,000 square feet to 1,500 square feet. Their Pasadena location is going to stay as is.

Yeah, I used to run into them at CES all the time. I used to work at Paris Audio in Santa Monica many moons ago with Eli Harary, who had a pretty long history with Murray and Jack. Nice people.
 

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It's too bad, that's why I support my local dealers even if it cost's a little more. I don't care what anyone says brands like B&W, Velodyne, Anthem, Rotel, etc are better than any I.D. offerings. I personally will never buy I.D. again, I don't think the quality's there.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sickofthehype /forum/post/14187585


It's too bad, that's why I support my local dealers even if it cost's a little more. I don't care what anyone says brands like B&W, Velodyne, Anthem, Rotel, etc are better than any I.D. offerings. I personally will never buy I.D. again, I don't think the quality's there.

Yeah, even with all the crap that is sold at B&M stores, it just seems to me that gear sold at a B&M store will be held to a higher standard if only because they have to deal with you face to face.


I may be totally wrong here though, and may be just behind the times a bit.
 

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I work in a retail store selling this stuff, i've been doing it since oct of 1998. The day of being able to give a customer a good deal and still make money in most consumer electronics is almost gone IMO. It is turning into a volume market, even in the middle to higher end products IMO. For example, you have people that insist you match a price with unauthorized dealers in a different state (often a different coast) but still demand full service to go with it, it just doesn't add up anymore.


That being said, the brands of these products need to do what they have to in order to grow their own pockets so you can't really blame them. Its hard to blame the customer because they want the best deal possible of course. Its hard to blame the store because they want to make money of course. The reality is that the market is changing and this is just the way it is. You really only have two markets, really high end and box movers. The walmarts/bb/internet's of the world move boxes, the high end guys install higher end custom setups. Everyone in the middle will probably be gone within 3-5 years.
 

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There is definitely a trend towards custom installs, plus we are in a pretty shaky economy right now so it is not a time when customers are going to bewaving around fistfuls of money.


These guys have probably been through recessions before and are battening down the hatches.
 

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The trend toward high end custom started twenty-five years ago, and it has continued to grow. It isn't a "trend." Most enthusiast/consumers lament that they can't find a stereo shop that will let them sit alone for three hours evaluating a dozen different speakers (or cables!), and then buy them over the Internet instead, as if these boutiques should perform some sort of free public service in the interest of audiophilia. These businesses are disappearing because there's absolutely no money in it, other than for a few fortunate companies. High end two channel shops are a dying breed because the overhead is high, business traffic is way down, only the most loyal customers haven't turned to online sources, few want to pay for quality, and multi-channel sound continues to grow.


And don't blame a speaker company if they don't have a dealer on every corner with 50 of their models hooked up to demo. Retail audio, especially high end retail, has almost completely disappeared due to lack of support. And while Triad has made it simple and cheap for our dealers to display our speakers, few of our dealers have a demo facility. It is not their business model. That's the way it is.
 

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I'm not sure if this adds much to the conversation but within the past 2 months I've bought 5 Polk speakers, a Bic H-100 sub, an Onkyo 605 receiver, a bunch of cabling and a 46" Samsung LN46A550. All of it was bought off the internet. It's so much more convienant to do all the research on the internet. And for those willing to spend some time looking, it's not hard to find amazing deals. I'm at the lower end of the mid-fi stuff though.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Scarpelli /forum/post/14190026


Most enthusiast/consumers lament that they can't find a stereo shop that will let them sit alone for three hours evaluating a dozen different speakers (or cables!), and then buy them over the Internet instead, as if these boutiques should perform some sort of free public service in the interest of audiophilia.

Isn't that the truth?!
 

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How many of you would pay an "admission fee" to go into a place where you could audition all of the top brands of speakers, amps, etc? That would include ID brands and B & M brands. Ideally the setup would be such that you could audition in well treated rooms, A/B comparisons, the works. I wonder how many would actually be interested in such an idea, and how much they would think is reasonable to pay for such a convienence?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Varrius /forum/post/14190669


I wonder how many would actually be interested in such an idea......

Probably everyone here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Varrius /forum/post/14190669


.......and how much they would think is reasonable to pay for such a convienence?

Probably ZERO.
 

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Well, I would pay upwards of $100-$200 to have that audition ability. It's still cheaper than ordering all the speakers you want to audition and paying the shipping to send them back.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Will0329 /forum/post/14184639


the owner is downsizing and renting out half of his space. He is going from 3,000 square feet to 1,500 square feet. Could this be the end of his bussiness? He had 3 locations in the metropitan area and he just shut down one of his locations on June 1st. That brings this shop down to a 2 store family

Sound Factor is one of the best local, "mom-and-pop" owned, boutique shops left in the Los Angeles area. They do very good business in general (I understand). I deal with the Pasadena store very often, the guys there are very good. And I understand the Santa Monica location is very good as well. A very well-run operation. Which location are they closing?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·

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Originally Posted by WestCoastD /forum/post/14191483


Sound Factor is one of the best local, "mom-and-pop" owned, boutique shops left in the Los Angeles area. They do very good business in general (I understand). I deal with the Pasadena store very often, the guys there are very good. And I understand the Santa Monica location is very good as well. A very well-run operation. Which location are they closing?

The Santa Monica location closed on June 1st.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Will0329 /forum/post/14191609


The Santa Monica location closed on June 1st.

wow, hard to believe. That's too bad. To be honest I don't know how these shops survive. Of course I can see custom installation business providing some income. Otherwise I don't know how they can compete with other big stores nearby. For example, the Pasadena store is literally across the street from Circuit City, just around the corner from Ken Cranes, and a few blocks away from BestBuy/Magnolia (worst buy).
 
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