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Keeping sane in 2018
As our Justin Trudeau said a few short years ago... "new and shiny ways". We were to soon find out, old behaviors die hard, especially in politics... and sometimes in all area of life.
This year, as 2018 was taking shape, it became evident that we were behind in certain things that we needed to do. What we did and could not do in a hectic and busy 2017, we needed to do post haste in 2018. Our Xmas vacation, then of course, the habitual flu upon our return back ( god dang, was it a douser folks, it hit us all hard here ), then the need to catch up... which we did by late February.
What we all decided to do, despite the negative thing's going on in retail at this time, is find " new and shiny ways ". As experienced retailers know, we dont decide this, clients do.
From today as this is being written March 13th, turntables will play front row and center. We will be switching to a much more active cycle on our commercial floor. Shows and or events have been diminished, as it would be impossible for us to increase work load doing the above and organize up to 8 shows a year. It does not stop there, but most of fan base will know what I am writing about here.
Its also the first time that I am saying out loud that we cannot do most of what we do without the kind permission of our community. Another key point is if we see supplying companies on Amazon, large audio partners, then we are unwilling to place our brand nor associate with such companies. So its just not the folks that decide, its those companies that have lost hope in their market place. But we see a glimmer of light in these bleak times. In these times, it truly separates the faithful and the economically viable from those that are not.
We all realize what we are pushing here in our corner of the world may seem complicated with words like "dem cycles" and "sliding continuous dems ", but it simply means that we are pushing boundaries to make ourselves even more accessible to most right here in Ottawa.
More than several years ago, we were defined by the hours we kept, and the few days we were open. On line feed back called us weird, fools on the hill ( when we were on our Churchill location ), and so on. But it was not until folks dealt with us, that folks realized, many of our clients get responses a early as 5 am and as late as 10 pm. These "special Hours " increased our response times and our workload quite a bit. One may even say, we are one of the most active dealers in Canada, despite being here in Ottawa and despite having these odd and limited hours.
What we have done and followed through tweaking this year, is continue to tweak and play with a formula that was once thought as being odd and weird, and well, we say to that, where are all the stores that once existed in Canada just 3 short years ago. I always thought that high end was labor intensive and did not lead to an easy business life. The work we all do as a team proves it, but we have made ourselves relevant to so many people, here and elsewhere.
Old formulas sometimes die hard, because they work and fundamentally in many ways force our old guard to adapt to our new shiny ways... but we must make sure not to insult or imply derisiveness to our supporting clients that have been doing so since we began. Our new shiny ways are limited in time, and I am keenly aware sometimes, most folks do not like nor appreciate the changing of formulas ( ask Coca Cola ). Should these shiny ways not grab some form of traction, I have no problem going back to old shiny ways... that simply work ( as Coca Cola about the latter ;-), they know a thing or 2 about that !
So we have begun to say, " its only with people consent " we are allowed to tweak our formula for a limited time. We know of no one in audio that does what we do and as intensively as we do it, but we are well aware that we may place ourselves in a pickle with our old guard. I admit, I dont like that as a business owner, we are incredibly faithful. Things change constantly, some dont, but we are not afraid to initiate change, but are unwilling to offend our old guard as it were. Let us all invite you in and see a continuously vibrant store that is kept busy because we care to make a difference in your lives. We are about the furthest thing about making believe what and whom we are not folks, ask our clients. It seems we are solidly standing in the winds of change for now, at least.
We have only our good clients and friends to thanks for making us so bloody entrenched in our community, even with our new and temporary ( for now we say ) shiny ways. We say to all, thank you for making us part of your lives.
What is going on mates ?
Ends up plenty, for us anyway. Our month of January was affected with plenty of sniffles and Kleenex. Once we got better, well it was time to do things. Aside from the below blogs from the dark side, I did not explain nor was there room for confusion in these dark matters, that for some of us in retail audio, we are managing juuuust fine. I have ten fold explanations to cover this, as to why in this business we have always carved out something special still in these darkish mischievous times. Sure they are that, but for some, we see differently and for some, some are having fun.
There are reasons why we are kept busy most times. First the laughter, the bad jokes, the humanity and the list goes on. Then on a whole different level, there is the knowledge base and in some instances, the high level of expertise, and lastly there is a wholly commitment to our cause and our clients cause to do no harm. We don't waste time responding to our clients, and tend to be quite efficient, if we fail in our view, we will apologize. Give them the best service they deserve... relentlessly.
Then there is the sheer stuff we have, it goes on and on... and on we go. We do not use banks, we are self financing, so we simply do not stress out and our suppliers know they will not be shortchanged. Even with that we find room to insult their sanity... truth be told, we laugh with them NOT at them... riiiight. An additional piece of reality is the fact that we have fun with everybody that we deal with, laughter is another key ingredient, yes, even in these times with retail.
The other main ingredient that makes or breaks us is one word : The word Passion. Did you know all of our floor team listen to music still. Few listen more than your own Lucster himself. For my team and I, it is our soft plate to fall on.
Its also that key term that makes me want to continue in this business. Even invest more in higher end. Companies like JMR and Aqua DACS ( when Kris brought the latter home, he texted me with "Woooooooow". Kris unflappable love of our Sim Audio ACE. I joked that we should weld hand rails on this, he seems to bring it home more often than we have it here. Steve loves his TRIgon amplifier, and many more toys. He listens to Blues and folk...as to Kris, who the hell knows or cares
I have been listening too countless components, the ever glorifying Audio Note OTO SE Signature, then switching to Linn Klimax source, Pathos tube based preamplifier and yes, an all time fave of mine, an PL Mystere 21 power amplifier... on wait... another all time fave, Klipch Corwalls. Add Murata super tweeters just for fun... well you get the picture. I have been limiting my purchases at home in the last year, our entire home, every room, even my bedroom and reading room is full of... you got it, records and CD's. Just listened to the new Tori Amos, yesterday, I love love love it and before that I spent an entire evening listening to Chamber music, Shuberts Trout Quintet, I have approximately 20 or so versions of it, Beethoven's chamber pieces and yes an entire 12 cd box set of Mozart pieces.
Without this profound love of music, we could not deal into the getting into your mind and love of music. We know who you are if you love music. A gent who visited us to listen to JMR speakers last year, brought not only an eclectic source of music, but I thought some of the best music that I ever heard. You see folks, I basically had all he was playing, I was enamored and I told him so, how honored I was in the presence of such a wonderful musical soul. As I stated in those blogs below, what makes us different is the following : We know first hand how any component should divest itself to the service of the music but you as well.
Its this passion that when I decide to invest in some of the lines we have, some are borne from a little bit of business, but mostly passion. Our client base needs no convincing, if we hear something special, we get excited like little kids. So when we brought back Tannoy, we were real excited. The first time listening to our Tannoy Eaton's, were were flabbergasted out of the box. Did you guys know I really get excited over one small speaker, its called the Monitor Audio Gold 50' s. My toes curl when I listen to this piece of magic. Steve bought a pair as well for his system, the man who owned many great speakers.
Does not mean we will sell 1 million pairs, of course not, audio is not the place to witness this. We would like that, but we live in reality. But the fact that we still have our toes curl, lets you know when you know, that we know how you feel ;-). How do you like then apples after reading that ! Sometimes line fails despite the love and our best efforts, these things happen.
The one thing we do know, is despite all the success and failures, what is essential for us to portray is the higher calling that music at a very high level represents for most of us music loving souls. Please go ahead read our WINTER article on our RIGHT NOW page, it tells you what is new and what we actually have ready for you fine folks.
Another point that we need to make, that no matter whom you see falter in our industry, or who disappears and loses, I feel pretty confident in saying, we have been blessed with a mighty and faithful client base throughout our long years, and we simply don't see us slowing down soon. You have our assurance of this, and I suspect the word passion has also something to add. So we say, thanks folks, and don't forget our Nordost show in the months to come... the system is awaiting, its been already planned, could not wait for that... et voila... cheers to all.