CE Pro December 2021 - 25

RON CALLIS, CEO, One Firefly
IF THERE IS A rock-star service
company in our industry,
surely it is One Firefly, not
because they came flying out
of the gate with a winning
game plan, but because they
were able to successfully apply
hard lessons from a failed
first business concept.
Says CEO Ron Callis, " I've
been in business for 14 years
and to be honest, the first
seven or eight years were
fantastically difficult.
The company launched as
Firefly Design Group, an outsource
engineering firm for
custom companies, providing
CAD drawings, schematics
and backup engineering
support to help integrators
sell more complex custom
projects, he explains.
" I thought that if I built a
crack outsource engineering
team, integrators would
rush to hire us - and then
mark up the work, " he says.
" Unfortunately, I neglected
to do any real market
research to back up my
hunch, and over time, the
cold hard reality set in that
the market did not really
want or need our services,
and the concept was not
really viable or scalable.
" To boot, " adds Callis, " as
a first-time owner with no
background in business, I just
made it up as we went along
and proceeded to make a
series of novice mistakes, in
CHARLES BOCK,
President,
Stereo Barn
THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY of a retail CE company is not
something you read about every day, but this year Charlie
Bock is celebrating that milestone with Stereo Barn, located
in Sinking Spring, Pa. The business was started by his father,
Charles N. Bock Sr., who in 1971 opened a small retail AV store
in a barn in the middle of a cornfield, hoping to offer customers
a place to buy specialty hi-fi brands like Sansui, Akai, Teac
and AR instead of the more pedestrian console brands.
As a teenager, the younger Bock loved hanging around the
store. He worked at Stereo Barn part-time until he graduated
college when he jumped in with both feet - and never
looked back. " Basically, my entire adult life, " he says.
The youngest of five brothers, Bock and an older brother
worked together in the store throughout the 1980s, steadily
growing the business by providing audio fans more premium
options. " It's incredible to think back to the retail simplicity of
those days, before custom and networking, when customers
bought a receiver, cassette deck, turntable and speakers, " he
recalls, " and all we needed was an orange crate cart to wheel
everything out to their car. "
When Charles Bock Sr. died in 1991, he left the business to
all five sons, and it wasn't until 2001 that Charlie Bock and
his wife, Patti, finally bought everyone out to run the business
by themselves. Though today 80% of Stereo Barn's sales
are installation based, there has always been a strong retail
component, and Bock remarks how the showroom remains an
incredibly powerful tool for showcasing smart home technolocepro.com
gies
and upgrading customers to higher performance AV.
The showroom has always enjoyed a well-deserved reputation
for its stylish architectural design and inviting look
and feel. Bock used the Covid shutdown time to refresh their
home theaters and audio displays.
During the late 80's, Bock realized he had a lot to learn
about running a better business and set about meeting some
successful dealers around the country. " One of my big lessons
learned was never to think you know everything and always
be open to learning new things, " he says. " I was lucky enough
to learn from my local reps and some of the true giants in our
industry like Walt Stinson and Bjorn Dybdahl - and hopefully
it was vice versa. "
He also found PARA, a national management association for
specialty CE dealers, which provided him a fountain of business
resources and education in addition to being a great opportunity
to meet, network and befriend some of the best minds in
the industry. Always appreciated for his sharp mind and quick
wit, Bock adds, " For me, the best thing about our industry is
the people in it and the give and take among peers. "
Bock sat on the PARA Board from 1996-2005 and was
PARA's president from 2001-2003. After completing his
presidency, he focused on doing more to promote himself and
Stereo Barn to the local community.
Bock spent the next 12 years on the Board of the Reading
Symphony Orchestra, the last four as president, where he
was able to bring much needed business skills to help this
non-profit music organization survive. " What an incredible
experience that was - I learned a lot, met a lot of prominent
people, heard a lot of great music, and put myself and Stereo
Barn on the local map, big-time. "
The caveat about volunteering, he notes, is that if you're
not careful it can take over your life. " So to succeed, " he says,
" you need to find the balance between doing things outside
and inside the company - and still have fun. "
December 2021 CE Pro | 25
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CE Pro December 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CE Pro December 2021

CE Pro December 2021 - Presentation Page
CE Pro December 2021 - Cover1
CE Pro December 2021 - Cover2
CE Pro December 2021 - 1
CE Pro December 2021 - 2
CE Pro December 2021 - 3
CE Pro December 2021 - 4
CE Pro December 2021 - 5
CE Pro December 2021 - 6
CE Pro December 2021 - 7
CE Pro December 2021 - 8
CE Pro December 2021 - 9
CE Pro December 2021 - 10
CE Pro December 2021 - 11
CE Pro December 2021 - 12
CE Pro December 2021 - 13
CE Pro December 2021 - 14
CE Pro December 2021 - 15
CE Pro December 2021 - 16
CE Pro December 2021 - 17
CE Pro December 2021 - 18
CE Pro December 2021 - 19
CE Pro December 2021 - 20
CE Pro December 2021 - 21
CE Pro December 2021 - 22
CE Pro December 2021 - 23
CE Pro December 2021 - 24
CE Pro December 2021 - 25
CE Pro December 2021 - 26
CE Pro December 2021 - 27
CE Pro December 2021 - 28
CE Pro December 2021 - 29
CE Pro December 2021 - 30
CE Pro December 2021 - 31
CE Pro December 2021 - 32
CE Pro December 2021 - 33
CE Pro December 2021 - 34
CE Pro December 2021 - 35
CE Pro December 2021 - 36
CE Pro December 2021 - 37
CE Pro December 2021 - 38
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CE Pro December 2021 - 40
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CE Pro December 2021 - 45
CE Pro December 2021 - 46
CE Pro December 2021 - 47
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CE Pro December 2021 - 50
CE Pro December 2021 - 51
CE Pro December 2021 - 52
CE Pro December 2021 - 53
CE Pro December 2021 - 54
CE Pro December 2021 - 55
CE Pro December 2021 - 56
CE Pro December 2021 - 57
CE Pro December 2021 - 58
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CE Pro December 2021 - Cover3
CE Pro December 2021 - Cover4
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