In January, GoldenEar Technologies, manufacturer of some of the world’s highest value audiophile loudspeakers, and The Quest Group, best known as the owner of the AudioQuest brand of cables, Niagara power products, and DragonFly DACs, announced that GoldenEar had become part of The Quest Group. The Quest Group is a California corporation wholly owned by AudioQuest founder and CEO Bill Low.
I recently sat down with Sandy Gross, co-founder of GoldenEar Technologies, about joining The Quest Group and what it means for his iconic brand. (Part One here)
Bill Low and Sandy Gross
Maureen Jenson: Are you going to continue designing loudspeakers?
Sandy Gross: Yes, I very much want to continue with my lifelong work of creating great loudspeakers and bringing them to market. I was not the operational side of the business, and I believe that the operational strength within The Quest Group will be more than able to pick up the ball and charge ahead.
MJ: So you are looking towards the Quest Group for marketing and what else?
SG: I think that TQG’s capabilities will help us to create and structure an even more effective market presence, and, with their help and backing, I am confident that our sales team will grow and be able to offer even greater support to our dealers, distributors and their teams.
MJ: What does this mean for your international business?
SG: Internationally, from a logistical standpoint, The Quest Group is way ahead of anything that we have ever had. Their strong presence on the ground in Europe includes full warehousing and a growing sales-support structure. This is already in full gear as we are preparing to take on direct distribution in Germany, Netherlands and the UK. In fact I was told that just yesterday we opened up our first dealer in Germany!
Their excellent Asia-Pacific team will help our current vendor interface team, as well as provide in-person sales support. Combined, these assets will be a tremendous help for GoldenEar and our distributors toward achieving growth and taking a much stronger international position.
Our engineering team, strengthened by the addition of new head Benjamin Seaman, who has tremendous experience organizing and running effective engineering teams in the aerospace industry, remains in place and is busy working on new projects to help me achieve my product dreams. We are in the process of releasing our new high-end bookshelf/stand-mount BRX and are busy at work on several exciting new loudspeakers that we will see in the years ahead. And our sales team of Dave Kakenmaster, Chris Volk, and Michael Grover, with the addition of David Penrod to head them up, are also in place and in gear. In addition, our in-house team of Anne Conaway and Mary Conaway are here and busy as always working with our dealers and helping to make everything run smoothly and efficiently.
BRX Bookshelf Speaker
MJ: What will be your distribution strategy going forward?
SG: Of course, GoldenEar will continue to slowly and methodically pursue its own unique and independent distribution strategy. At present, about one hundred of GoldenEar’s approximately two hundred North American dealers are also AudioQuest dealers.
MJ: What does this mean for the AudioQuest dealers?
SG: Over time, more AudioQuest dealers might become GoldenEar dealers, though only when and where appropriate. Under no circumstances will GoldenEar become available to all AudioQuest dealers. Of course, AudioQuest is hoping that it might be appropriate for more of the GoldenEar dealer community to become AudioQuest dealers, but there is no mandate for either community to merge with the other.
I am looking forward to working together with our dealers on this new chapter in the history, development, and success of GoldenEar Technologies.
Commented Bill Low:
I’m delighted to welcome GoldenEar into the heart of The Quest Group’s performance-oriented audio business.
The important fact that I am acquiring GoldenEar Technologies because nothing is broken and nothing needs to be fixed. The businesses of GoldenEar and AudioQuest are simply complementary and compatible to a degree seldom seen when an investment business buys companies.
I have always been certain that I would only ever want to be involved with business activities that I initiated, from my stores in Portland, OR, and Santa Monica, on to AudioQuest cables, Niagara and PowerQuest power products, and the DragonFly series of portable DACs—but the opportunity to work with Sandy and share in the growth of GoldenEar is simply irresistible.
Everyone who knows Sandy has witnessed someone doing what he loves—I hope the same is obvious to those who know me. Sandy and I will now be practicing our favorite “pastime” under the same umbrella.
William E. Low
The Quest Group