Away From Home
With the Dow recently dipping to 11-year lows, what’s the commercial job a New York-area integrator might be least likely to snag right now? Perhaps, say, a brand-new stock trading floor in mid-town Manhattan?
“We’re doing it now,” says Jonathan Flamm, co-owner of Long Island-based Audio Command Systems. “It’ll be occupied late-spring or early summer...It’s not like the economy isn’t functioning at all, even if you’re down 50 percent, it’s just slower.”
Indeed, Flamm’s trading floor design for a respected hedge fund company is of steadfast scale, with a full-HD video conferencing room, a Crestron control system, Lutron lighting, a bevy of suspended flatpanels that will channel Fox, CNN and Bloomburg throughout the trading day and even a “cool out room” where frazzled traders can recover their composure with the aid of some A/V entertainment options.
“This is about the size of a typical commercial job that we’d do,” says Flamm. “It came from a client we had worked with residentially. Then we did some of his other offices and trading spaces. That kind of work, that scale, is our comfort zone. It’s a nice mix of our knowledge of Crestron, our high-end interior knowledge and enough technology that separates us from a lot of other residential guys.”
Over the 15 years that Audio Command Systems has taken on commercial jobs (the company was founded 30 years ago), Flamm says he’s learned first-hand both the pros and cons of branching out past the home install. It’s an important list to understand, both sides, as more and more primarily home-theater dealers consider going after restaurant, gym, disco, church, temple, business office or retail-space gigs as a way to help them stay busy during the recession.
Vendors, too, have their own warnings and encouragements for those dealers looking to take on commercial projects this year. Here’s a sampling of the current wisdom on adding commercial ventures to your business plan: