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.