CE Pro December 2021 - 30

INDUSTRY
CE Pro Masters
DAVE NAUBER, Brand Director, Classé
DAVE NAUBER'S long career
in the audio business started
by pure happenstance. As a
college student, he walked
down to the local audio store
in Champaign, Ill., because the
store was launching a big sale. While he was waiting outside
on a cold February day, store manager Mike Wesley opened
the door asking him what he wanted.
" I asked him, 'By the way, would you need any help in the
summertime?' He laughed and told me, 'No, but we could
use some help right now,' " recalls Nauber. That encounter
led to his eventual employment in the store and a 35-year
audio career.
One of the store's big brands at the time was Madrigal, and
when Wesley took a job as the marketing director there in 1986,
Nauber followed. Over the next 17 years, Nauber rose to be director
of sales and marketing at Madrigal. In 2002, he migrated
to the B&W Group's Classé Audio brand where he served as the
executive vice president of brand development for eight years,
and president from 2010 to 2018. When Bowers & Wilkins was
purchased by Sound United in 2018, Nauber assumed the role
of brand director at Classé.
His 14-year B&W tenure meant he worked closely with
owner Joe Atkins, who he cites as one of his mentors.
" Joe is a super smart guy ... very hardworking and very forthright.
When I look back at the people that have been influential
to me, they have been people who led by example. They
have integrity and honesty, which I think are super important, "
comments Nauber.
Nauber says the changes in technology have greatly influenced
the audio industry, both positively and negatively.
" Technology gives us access to music in a way that I never
dreamed about back in 1986, " he says. " People can listen
to virtually any kind of music from anywhere very easily via
streaming services. That's a huge benefit for everyone.
" On the downside, the retail environment has changed.
There are fewer and fewer places where someone can have a
demonstration and be educated about what it means to have
good sound in your home. That creates a challenge for us all
going forward because a certain percentage of people respond
to great sound, and we're struggling to reach those people, "
he says. " The need to access a demonstration of great sound
certainly won't ever go away. We have to figure out ways to
make it profitable, so that people can stay in business and
deliver that to their customers. "
Nauber advises anyone new to the consumer electronics industry
to focus on getting the necessary education to become
an expert.
" You need to be prepared to deal with the technology, but
also get the fundamental management, sales and marketing
experience you need. Also, try to work for people that you
think you can learn from, " he advises. " Work for people who
are smarter than you are. "
DAVID YOUNG, President, The Sound Room
WHEN ASKED, " What is
the secret to your success in
this industry? " David Young,
owner of The Sound Room
in Chesterfield Valley, Mo.,
jokingly refers to a conversation
he had with D.K. Smith
from Wichita, Kan., at an
early PARA Conference.
" He asked me if I got into
this business because hi-fi
was my hobby (as was the
case with so many early
stereo store owners). I
replied no, I was a media and
photography major in college
and I've always looked at
30 | CE Pro December 2021
this as a business first, not
as a hobby. D.K. laughed and
said, 'Lucky you. You just
saved yourself at least five
years of struggle.' And I know
he was right, " says Young.
" Over the years I watched
as so many hobbyists made
emotionally bad business
decisions ... and lose their
hobby, " he continues. " It
turned out to be a great
benefit that I was never so
great at sales or installation.
Knowing what I could and
couldn't do allowed me to
always seek out people who
were very good at these
things, which left me free to
run the business - and that
is something I really can do. "
Young followed his belief
in hiring the right people,
getting them into the right
positions, treating them well,
and giving them room to
grow. " Most of our employees
have been here for 20 to
30 years, " he notes.
With a group of investors
and a skeleton staff, Young
opened The Sound Room
in 1983, the year of the
CD. Right out of the gate,
he made a business plan
to open a second store in
five years, but actually he
opened the second store 18
months later where they first
introduced home theater,
started selling video and got
into custom (selling the early
multiroom Bang & Olufsen
BeoLink system).
Another 18 months after
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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
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CE Pro December 2021 - 15
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CE Pro December 2021 - Cover3
CE Pro December 2021 - Cover4
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