Award-winning retailer Handcrafted Car Audio, Chandler, AZ owned by Jon Kowanetz has been sold to Chris Foster, current owner of Powersport Audio, AZ.
He will buy Handcrafted’s displays, tooling, computers, and the rights to the Handcrafted name. Powersport Audio will merge with Handcrafted and operate out of the single Handcrafted Car Audio location and under the Handcrafted name. Its main focus will be on marine and powersports audio with some car audio.
Foster has owned many shops in the past including Mobile Solutions, Brentwood, CA, which he ran for nine years. He sold that business during the pandemic so he could move to Arizona, where he launched a shop called Powersport Audio.
Foster will continue to sell the same brands as the original Handcrafted Car Audio including Hertz, MSC, Rockford, Compustar, SoundShield, Sony and Wet Sounds. He will add Bluave, Arc Audio, AudioControl, Kicker Marine, and Fusion Marine. The shop is ideally located near a number of lakes.
Foster got involved in car audio in high school when a friend showed him a copy of Car Audio magazine. He was also introduced to Nick De Cesare, an ME Magazine Top 12 installer back in the 80’s and 90’s. “Back then [De Cesare] was building demo cars for Linear Power and Cerwin Vega. I started following him and learning from him,” said Foster.
Foster’s Powersport Audio shop has an average ticket sale of $15K to $19K in marine builds. He and a crew travel to nearby states including CA, NV, UT, AZ and TX to do installs on site. “We go to all the marinas, we’re licensed and insured to work at all marinas and we travel multi-state,” he said.
The business model works in terms of finding qualified installers. “I’m lucky to have people in different areas that I contract in. If we’re going to say, Utah, I have three guys that I can contract in on a job and they will come meet me at Lake Powell and do the installs.” Apart from part time contractors, Foster has two full time employees.
For his part, former Handcrafted Car Audio owner Jon Kowanetz opened the store in 2007 with a focus on fabrication and audio. He also sold a lot of radar and laser systems, and remote start, safety and security. The shop won Retailer of the Year from Mobile Electronics magazine in 2013 and Kowanetz won Installer of the Year in 2010. He has taken a part time post with MSC America as part of its Special Dealer Development Team and he also plans to pursue his passion in coaching.
“Six years ago, I went through many major life changes including divorce, sobriety and weight loss, sharing my story with those around me all along the way. Being a journalism major and a lifelong writer, it came naturally to me to write and to speak about this and I found fulfillment in knowing that I was helping others to navigate their own challenges. It really makes it all worth it, and that’s how I know it’s what I am meant to do!” said Kowanetz.
Kowanetz published a book in 2020, ‘Life Without Crutches’ that details his journey and aims to help others learn to let go of their own crutches because “If things aren’t good in your personal life, they are not going to be in your professional life either.”
President of MSC, Larry Penn, a long-time friend, encouraged him to pursue his passion and created a part-time position for Kowanetz at MSC that would allow him to focus on both car audio and coaching.