Imagine a luxury automotive “mall” where your store is next to a Corvette Resto shop and “car condominiums.”
Soundz Plus has a bit of rags to riches story. After September 11, 2001 when sales plunged, it left its 4,000 square foot shop of 5 years and scaled back to a location half the size. The economy was so shaky that owner Marty Deane decided to focus on the customers that weren’t affected by economic swings. He pursued the luxury high end market and it’s paid off.
The new luxury mall location provides “car condos” or upscale garages that also include den areas or man caves. Deane says its for the car collector that “wants to make a statement and have his friends come hang out with him. Some of these garages are $200,000 to $4 million…you can live in the them…one has a car elevator and an outdoor kitchen.”
His shop will be in front of the car condo. “We wanted to be part of that community. Those people have friends who have money and they buy toys frequently enough.” He calls the property a “man cave on steroids.”
Other shops in the “mall,” include a high end mechanic/tuner shop, a classic and new Corvette restoration and sales shop, and a hand car wash. Soundz Plus was specifically invited to join the mall.
His building will be two storeys and purpose built for his shop with offices upstairs and a showroom and garage on the ground floor, totaling 4,500 square feet.
The store will have radiant floor heat so installers in the Chicago cold who are kneeling all day in remote start season are spared. Also every time the door opens, it takes the heating system a while to catch up, so the warmer floors help with heating.
The showroom is about 1,000 square feet and there’s a waiting area with a 60 inch wall TV and WiFi.
The bay will hold 5 cars and with a glass wall so customers can watch the techs. Soundz has 3 full time installers plus Deane and an office worker. Deane does some installation and sales and one of the techs doubles as a stock manager and salesman.
The shop focuses heavily on custom radar as well as remote starts. Radar is about 25 of its sales and K40 is the shop’s radar brand. It also installs a lot of blind spots detectors, parking assist systems and safety cameras. An audio upgrade is typically $2,000 to $3,000 and often involves retaining the factory radio.
In addition to car audio, the shop is known for its work on Polaris Slingshots. It built a demo Slingshot for Kenwood for last year’s KnowledgeFest and one for Sony for CES 2017.
Deane says the business is still growing. It’s up 15 percent from a year ago. The shop is now grossing about 30 to 35 percent above its pre-September 11, 2001 levels.
Major brands carried include K40, Focal, JL Audio and Kenwood.
The mall has other advantages, says Deane. It holds a monthly “Chrome and Coffee” gathering and sponsors a charity road rally. Plus it holds a Car-toberfest German car show that draws crowds of over 3,000.