MJ Talks to . . . Shawn Bookter, principal of Refined Systems LLC from Spring, Texas a premium provider of residential and commercial audio/video and automation systems servicing the Greater Houston region, Texas, and abroad talks about the burgeoning commercial market.
MJ: Tell us about your business?
Shawn Bookter: We specialize in system integration including audio and video distribution, home theater, lighting control, motorized shade and drapery treatments, video conferencing solutions, acoustics, and sound masking, among many others. We work closely with the customer, architect, builder and designer to integrate technology that is functional, sophisticated and effortless. With industry leading brands, a team of highly-skilled professionals, and strong personal relationships, we foster a turn-key, full service approach to home and business technology, design and installation.
MJ: Are you seeing an uptick in growth? If so, where from? Have you had to hire new people?
SB: Yes. The residential side of our business has continued to grow year over year. We have seen tremendous growth on the commercial side of our business over the last 2 years. In 2013 we were approximately 80/20 – resi to commercial. Wrapping up 2016 that ratio has improved to 60/40. We have not had to hire new people each year as we continue to grow….we just work more efficiently.
MJ: What manufacturer’s products do you deal and what is most important to your commercial customers in 2016?
SB: Crestron is our go to product for both resi and commercial. We have a small line card of top tier products. Including: JBL Synthesis, Kaleidescape, Integra, Pro Audio, Wisdom Audio, Revel, Mark Levinson, Cinema Tech, Screen Innovations, Wolf, Barco on the resi side. Commercially, with Crestron as the backbone, we inlcude: Star Leaf, AKG, Draper, Clock Audio, Cambridge and others.
MJ: What can manufacturers do to make your job easier?
SB: Deliver materials on time! Assist with product specifications on “out of the ordinary” applications. Most importantly is the rep to dealer relationship; the reps are our front line of support. If we love the product and can’t get good support from out rep, we are likely to not carry or promote the product.
MJ: Any particular manufacturers that you can always count on?
SB: Always is a big word. I don’t know that I can say ‘always’ about any manufacturer. Crestron and Harman Luxury Audio (through Momentum Marketing rep firm) have been the best thus far.
Refined Systems wine racking.
MJ: What makes them special from an integrator/dealer’s perspective?
SB: We have received good support through the years from both firms regardless of our dealer status. Crestron has assisted with our growth to make us the largest Crestron (resi) dealer in the Central Region.
MJ: During 2017, where do you see the largest growth potential for our industry?
SB: New verticals and emphasis on turn-key solutions and system design. With all of the DIY tech products out there, we must show the value of superior design and installation. We have also entered the specialty light fixture market and have seen great results in upselling builders, designers, and homeowners.