Not many car audio shops have a built-in daycare area. But John Schwartz didn’t have much of a choice, given the high cost of childcare. There was a spare room at Perfectionist Auto Sound & Security, Anchorage, AK and there his three young daughters played during the day.
“The girls would come with me to work and hated it,” he said.
When his daughter Amari got older she began helping out at Perfectionist but she didn’t take to it. Sometimes she wouldn’t show up to work and soon left for other jobs.
But after a while, she returned and started answering the phones and asking questions about the business.
“The switch just flipped and she got excited about the shop. She said she didn’t realize all the relationships we had with people, because we’ll do work for a grandfather, a father, and his kids…” said Perfectionist owner Schwartz.
At the time, Amari was going to school for business but grew bored and was questioning the need for school. She was already getting hands-on business training at the shop. “We had Compustar, SoundSkins and Perfectionist Auto Sound so we are doing a lot at work.” Amari’s school advisor said, ‘You don’t need a piece of paper.’ “That really lit a fire under her. That was two years ago…” Schwartz said.
SoundSkins is a sound dampening material sold by Schwartz. And Compustar is the remote start brand launched by the original owners of Perfectionist Auto Sound. Schwartz was originally hired as the Tech Support Manager for Compustar before the remote start maker moved to Kent, WA. He took over the shop at age 23. Perfectionist since serves as the R&D facility for all new Compustar products.
“We’ve had SoundSkins for 3 years. The first year, I was doing it pretty much by myself. Amari started rewriting dealer forms and doing SEO and learning more stuff; things I wasn’t even thinking about. It made the company more professional. At Perfectionist I just trained her and trained her.”
“She’s beautiful, and I told her every time a guy comes in they are going to think you’re the coffee girl,” he continued. “We trained her on remote start and lighting and we made her install, so now she’s the sales manager of the store. She’s just killing it.”
Amari eventually became COO of SoundSkins as well as Sales Manager at Perfectionist. This year, at age 23, she won a Mobile Electronics Magazine 2018 award for Sales Pro of the Year.
“I had my kids really young. I remember teaching business classes at KnowledgeFest and people would say, ‘What’s your motivation?’ And it was that I have three daughters and I wanted to build something for them. So they wouldn’t grow up the way I grew up.”
Schwartz, continued, “When I was younger we’d have months where all we would eat was potatoes. And the next month we’d switch to noodles. We were pretty poor.
“A couple years ago, at 39–I have a bad heart–it just hit me. I was down for 9 months. Every year for Thanksgiving I buy turkeys for the employees. When I was 18, I was working at the shop down the street from me. Me and my ex-wife had just moved and had two kids. Thanksgiving was coming and I couldn’t afford a turkey. I thought I wasn’t a man if I couldn’t afford a turkey for my family. I pulled into the shop and the boss pulled in with a truck full of turkeys and handed everyone one. I literally cried. I never forget that. Even now at Compustar and Perfectionist every year we hand out turkeys. And I tell the story every year to tell how far we’ve come,” said Schwartz.
“So when I was sick I couldn’t give the speech. So Amari told the story from her perspective. She said, ‘With my dad it never felt like we were poor,’ and that meant so much to me,” he said.
Perfectionist brings in over $2 million a year in sales and will be celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2019. It is the number one Compustar retailer since 2005. It also won the ME Magazine Retailer of the Year Award in 2011 and 2015.