April 2008 Issue


CR0408_Managing the Middle

Managing the Middle Nancy Klosek Today’s custom distributors are essential links in a changing supply chain. It’s a world of re-definition, everywhere you look. Forty is the new 30. Thirty is the new 20. The ladders are still the same—but they’re re-labeling the rungs. And so it is within the changing confines of the custom integration world. Not very long ago, manufacturers were relied upon for much more than merely supplying and backing up their product offerings; they were trainers, educators, forecasters and cheerleaders for the custom discipline. While that’s still true among the many excellent niche brands that populate the custom realm,

Distribution Special: Distributor Directory

CustomRetailer presents a directory of companies ready to provide you with everything you need to run your business... ADI Tom Polson, President About the Company: As a leading global wholesale distributor of security and low-voltage products, ADI offers the support, service and confidence you need to stay up to date with the evolving custom electronics market. ADI’s superior product offerings, convenient locations, friendly and knowledgeable staff and extensive training opportunities can be relied on to help you win business throughout the marketplace. For the past 20 years, ADI has been distributing the latest technologies and value-added services to residential and commercial A/V

Made in the Shade

A remarkably positive 2008 forecast for the “light management” business. Mike Marri and Eric Olsen are the sort who can savor quality sushi while listening to tracks from Springsteen’s 1982 solo guitar album, Nebraska...all in the middle of a workday. The owners of Boulevard Pro have two decadently oversized leather recliners in their small, sunny Oradell, N.J., showroom, and they know how to touchpad the MechoShades closed on a bright afternoon should those recliners call their names. Marri, a fit 50-year-old who worked for years as a full-time drummer, and Olsen, whose movie-star looks once tempted him toward an acting career, both

Unfinished Symphony

An unfinished basement hits the right notes after all is said and done, thanks to an intense collaboration between AV installer and architect. In the unfinished basement area of this remodeled mid-70s home, a room like a bomb shelter, but bigger, with 6-inch brick walls and concrete everywhere, awaited its destiny. The shape of the room was difficult and there was a lot of unfinished “stuff” hanging down from the too-low ceiling, such as wiring and exposed plumbing. With a room like this, collaboration was key. The collaboration between the installer, Robert Ridenour, president of Connected Technologies and architect, Larry Whittaker, CEP

Working the Verticals

There’s gold in the urban MDU market, as long as you don’t rush into it. There are some calls a custom company doesn’t want to miss. Like the call from the successful young Manhattan finance whiz (and mad audiophile) who has purchased not one but two floors’ worth of Manhattan real estate in a desirable location just off Park Avenue and has enlisted a noted architectural firm to gut and re-design the space as a luxury bi-level apartment. That’s the kind of call that could lead to a sweet contract, to important industry connections and even to publicity in leading architectural magazines. But

Working Together Benefits Everyone

Make sure your client is this thrilled with her CEDIA/ASID collaboration. One of the most uncomfortable moments I experienced as a custom installation salesman happened in the mid-80s, unfolding in the plush family room of a high-end home I had finished recently. I sat there with the client, his wife, the interior designer and the clients’ lawyer. Yes, “lawyer.” The designer had entirely covered the baffles of the speakers built into the $50,000 custom entertainment cabinet with a solid, thick, woven cane material. They might as well have plastered the openings shut, because little sound was getting out. The result was reminiscent of