Celebrating 25 Years in Business!
Where were you on May 9, 1995? Don’t remember? Alan Jones does.
That is the day a young(er) Alan hung his shingle and opened Audio Alternative where he sold used audio gear that was often stacked floor to ceiling. As it turned out, there was a market for this stuff! Within the first year, he doubled the size of the store (and customers helped him move!), then he had to do it again the following year.
And that is where he stayed until moving to Buckhead and changing the name of the store to HiFi Buys in 2015. So few businesses ever reach this milestone, and we are proud beyond words to help Alan celebrate 25 years of success.
To mark the occasion, I interviewed Alan to get his take on this achievement:
What does it feel like to have a 25-year old business? I’m a bit overwhelmed but also like I have truly accomplished something. I look back at how we started from a tiny little store selling used gear to where we are today, and it is amazing. Retail is a hard business, and what we do is so specific. Most of all, I am proud of putting together such an amazing team of incredible people that work very hard every day. Now, as in other times of hardship like 9/11 and the great recession, I’ve been able to keep all of my employees and I couldn’t be prouder of that. Times of hardship and weakness are when we have to show the greatest strength and every person on this team does that daily.
What do you think has been the secret of your success? Passion. I have a real love for music and helping people find it. If you can find a way to turn your passion into a profession, you have it made, because passion drives education, a thirst for knowledge, and people can see that in you too. One of my greatest joys is to have a customer call me to ask the name of the song that I played for them in the store. I am someone who truly loves building relationships and working with people, and we do everything we can to make our customers feel special when they come to the store.
What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen over the years? This is true of all businesses, but the internet changed the world. It changed how we listen to music and how we conduct business. Now that we are planning to move into the world of e-commerce, (you heard it here first, folks!) I want to make sure we find a way to maintain that personal connection that has helped us succeed all these years.
So how did a landmark like this slip up on you? I knew it was coming, but times are crazy. I tend to focus on what is ahead, not behind, and I still have to battle for my business every day. Everyone thinks you must be on easy street after 25 years but it is still hard work. With that said, I do feel the strongest I ever have in business, and my employees and manufacturers are the greatest in the world.
What advice do you have for other business owners? Have a passion for what you do, no matter what it is. I’ve tried to approach everything in my life that way. I remember washing dishes in Steamboat Springs, CO, and they told me I was the most passionate dishwasher they had. If you can be passionate about that, you can be passionate about anything. As your business grows, stay in the role that you are passionate about. Too many business owners find themselves getting distant from what made them start the company in the first place as the years go by. If you aren’t excited about bookkeeping or marketing, hire someone to do that stuff and stick to what you do best.
Secondly, make sure you put mentors in your life. I’ve found that if you are passionate about what you do, and do it well, mentors will see it and want to help you. Listen to what they say and take their advice if you can. And return the favor with other business owners as well.
Any final words to share? When I was 13 years into the business, I started feeling burnt out and wasn’t sure that I wanted to do it anymore. While talking to my mom about it, I realized that there was nothing else that I really wanted to do and my weariness went away. This is exactly where I belong!
Just for fun, here are a few more pictures from the last 25 years!