Midwest Industry Leader Passes

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Rick Snelson Industry Leader Passes
We are deeply saddened to report that Rick Snelson, who owned Car-Fi in Missouri for 35 years, passed on December 31 after a battle with cancer.
Snelson is credited with helping to launch the car audio industry in the Midwest. He was a master at promoting and many of his tactics have become industry standards.
Due to his cancer, Snelson retired in June, after a total of 50 years in the industry. Here we reprint part of CEoutlook’s tribute to Snelson at that time:

In terms of promoting, Snelson would literally go up on the store roof via a scissors lift for days during a sale and refuse to come down until the store reached a certain sales goal. TV news and radio station crews would come by, and drivers would honk as they passed. This became “the manager on a roof sale.”

He launched or embellished the idea of working on a car over the course of many months and then holding a huge sound off contest, car show and sale and giving away the car, often filled with Rockford Fosgate equipment.

Snelson was one of the first to install car audio in Jaguars, Rolls Royces, and limousines.

“He was one of the only stores that had both Alpine and Kenwood in one store at the time,” said Ron Freeman former President and CEO of AAMP Global and current President and CEO of ISS. Freeman was one of Car-Fi’s initial employees. “In the early days, there was no real footprint for a 12 volt store… in those days it was mostly home audio stores who had a little display of a couple of car audio [products].” Car-Fi was one of the first, “beautiful,” all-car-audio shops.

Elettromedia VP Rob Wempe said, “Rick Snelson is probably the most innovative advertiser and marketing of car audio that I’ve ever seen. When I was growing up in this industry everyone in the Midwest had a Car-Fi T-shirt. My installers, in Kansas City, 300 miles away had Car-Fi T-shirts that they wore to work. He helped put car audio on the map in the Midwest.”

Manufacturer’s rep Brett Phelps of Team Progressive said, “He impacted the entire electronics industry….tent sales, garage sales and private letter sales. All of those things, if he didn’t start them, he certainly perfected them. In a town of 150,000 people his tent sale did $160,000 in car stereo at decent margins.”


Kenwood also released a tribute to Snelson that can be found here.

Snelson was also a founding member of the Mobile Electronics Specialists of America (MESA) buying/marketing group.

 A virtual celebration of life which will be announced in the next few weeks by Snelson’s dear wife Reba Brew.
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  1. For over 20 years, Rick Snelson educated me as a customer, on what products I need to use on my Company Trucks.Car-Fi work on most of my all of my family and friends cars with electronics and tint. He would go above and beyond on my Golf carts with lights, and stereos, also my side by side Atv’s, with LED lights,and stereos,He has always taken care of my wife’s cars with stereos’s, Radar detectors, window tint,❤️ All by Boats were also fitted with the latest head units,waterproof speakers and subs! 😍
    I was already a good customer, then I found out our daughters were best friends in grade school, and they still are BFF’s in their 30’s. We remained very close for over the last almost 25 years..💝 We have lost one of the greatest.😪 A mentor, innovator, best friend, husband, and dad..🥰 I love you buddy.. R.I.P 🙏🏼
    Jesse owner/operator
    Midwest Granite

  2. Rick was a great man and a solid business leader in Springfield. You always knew where you stood with him and when to stop selling. Thanks for the support. Rest in Peace Rick.

  3. Rick will be greatly missed in the City of Springfield, MO and the Car audio community as a whole.

    Rest in Peace sir.

  4. So sad. Rick was a unique personality in our industry. As Rob mentioned in the article, he was a master promoter and worked hard to make the 12V industry strong and relevant. I will miss Rick. I met him back in the late 80’s while working in retail in Iowa. Rick was never afraid to give you his opinion, but also wanted to support the people that supported him. RIP my friend…
    Bill Jackson – Rockford Fosgate

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