i3 - November/December 2020 - 8

Tech

Cindy Loffler Stevens

I N N OVATO R

Crutchfield
Corporation's
Founder and CEO
Bill Crutchfield

8

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020

i3_1120_08-10_Tech_Innovator.indd 8

KEY STATS
Market
Category:
Consumer tech
products
Founded:
1974
Company:
Privately-held
Founder
and CEO:
William G.
Crutchfield, Jr.
Headquarters:
Charlottesville, VA
Website:
Crutchfield.com

for shoppers. Crutchfield's Connect ID
feature allows its in-house advisors to
co-shop the site with customers via
phone or chat. The privately held company has grown to over 700 employees.
In 1999, Bill Crutchfield was named
Ernst & Young's Master Entrepreneur
of the Year for Virginia; in 2007, he was
inducted into CTA's Hall of Fame; in
2011, Virginia Business magazine listed
him as one of Virginia's 25 most notable
entrepreneurs over the past 25 years;
and, in 2016, he was honored by the
Anti-Defamation League. Bill
Crutchfield has owned several different
airplanes and has been designated a
Wright Brothers Master Pilot by the
Federal Aviation Administration for
50-plus years of safe flying. During a
recent conversation, i3 had the opportunity to learn more about this innovative
retail business.

Photographed by J. Stoll, Courtesy of Crutchfield.

T

he idea for Crutchfield Corp. was born in 1974 as
Bill Crutchfield was restoring his classic Porsche
356 coupe and could not find an aftermarket car
stereo for it. A business concept evolved from
this humble beginning with the company offering informative consumer electronics catalogs to
its shoppers and growing into the first vendorauthorized audio/video retailer on the internet. For 46 years,
the company has specialized in a full range of consumer electronics products with special emphasis on equipment for cars
and homes.
As Founder and CEO, Bill Crutchfield has always had a strong
focus on providing exceptional customer service winning the
company multiple awards along the way. Crutchfield Corp. is the
only internet retailer of any type to have won BizRate Insight's
Platinum Award for 20 consecutive years. The company was
recently ranked #1 out of 37 in the consumer electronics category
of Newsweek's Best Online Shops 2021.
A strategic businessman, he launched Crutchfield.com in
1995 but not everyone believed in his vision initially.
Crutchfield says, "Twenty-five years ago, I told a group of business leaders that we were going to be selling products over the
internet and they said, 'who in the world would order anything
over a computer?' And these were very sophisticated people."
He adds, "So, who knows what is going to happen in the next
25 years?"
The Charlottesville, Virginia, facilities include its dog-friendly
headquarters, two distribution centers, a new, state-of-the-art
contact center and a concept retail store. Also, in Virginia, the
company has a satellite call center in Wise County, a research lab
in Christiansburg and a traditional retail store in Harrisonburg.
Its Charlottesville store uses patented technologies to offer virtualized listening experiences for hundreds of speakers, and contains interactive fixtures offering access to photos, customer
reviews and technical information for every product.
Crutchfield Corp. developed the Outfit My Car tool that uses
specific in-house measurements of thousands of vehicles to
confirm proper fit for aftermarket speakers and car stereos.
The company website also features over 3,500 detailed articles
and videos to share information, reviews and how-to advice

I T I S I N N O VAT I O N

10/20/20 2:35 PM


http://www.crutchfield.com http://www.Crutchfield.com

i3 - November/December 2020

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