Sound Concepts Finds Niche Installing High-End Electronics

by Mark Hengel  on Monday, Jun. 22, 2009 12:00 am  

"I realized that no one else was doing this, and I realized I made more money on the side than working for my dad," Heringer said.

Al Heringer took the news well. Ryan said his father told him to "go out and make it on your own." (But he also asked his son to return the company car he'd used while on the family's payroll.)

The decision has led to annual revenue growth of greater than 10 percent, Heringer said.

The Goods

The company has carved out a niche installing electronic setups in homes that any celebrity would proudly show off on MTV's celebrity home show "Cribs." While the average job in 2008 cost about $28,000, it's not uncommon for projects to cost much more. Heringer recently completed a northeast Arkansas home's $900,000-plus system, and a condo in Little Rock's 300 Third Tower (see story, Page 17) has more than $500,000 in electronic goodies packed into just over 2,500 SF, Heringer said.

Heringer would not disclose the names of those clients.

For the most part, business has remained stable despite the economy's woes, Heringer said. Sound Concepts provides a luxury item, and most of the company's clients are not wanting for cash.

"For a lot of clients, it's not 'What can I afford?'" Heringer said. "They ask, "What can it do and can I justify spending that amount of money on it?'"

A project can entail anything from a customer buying a television at the Jonesboro showroom to Heringer & Co. installing everything needed so that a touch screen remotely controls almost all things electrical in the house.

Sound Concepts doesn't outfit only homes. The operation completes installs for several businesses. A steady client for Sound Concepts has been Liberty Bank of Arkansas, from which Heringer received his initial startup loan.

"Wallace Fowler, he's probably the No. 1 reason I got started," Heringer said of Liberty Bank's chairman and CEO.

The original small-business loan was an easy one to make, Fowler said. Fowler has known Heringer and his father for a good while, and Al Heringer sits on the bank's board of directors, Fowler said.



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