POULSBO — It may not be over yet, but this summer is already going much better than last summer for Jason Parson — that is, as long as no more cars crash through the front window of his business.
It’s been only a year since thieves drove a stolen Toyota truck into Poulsbo Audio Video Integration, but the damage they left behind has been all but erased.
Now nearing the end of its first year in full retail swing, the home theater and commercial pre-wiring store is boasting a staff of five, nearly 50 lines of products, and a parent company, Invision Technologies, that was just named one of Inc. 500’s fastest growing businesses.
None of this was Parson’s original intent, however, when his wife Jamie Parson and mother-in-law Sereen Gerhardt started Invision Technologies as a way to have a little extra fun eight years ago.
“At the time, nobody else was doing it,” Parson said. “It started out small, just $250,000 the first year, but then we came in and it exploded.”
The explosion occurred when Parson left his position with Pioneer Electronics USA and rocketed Invision Technologies’ annual take-in from $2.3 million to $5.5 million is just over a year. This move paved the way for Poulsbo Audio Video Integration, which Parson spearheaded with his father-in-law, Roger Gerhardt.
Parson said despite what people might think, working with in-laws has been a good experience.
“I’ve been in family businesses all my life,” he said. “You just have to keep what’s personal personal and what’s business business. We all voice our opinions pretty well.”
While the family business aspect hasn’t proved difficult, Parson said marketing and costs have fronted a challenge.
“The hardest part has been figuring out where to market, and how to market this location to other parts of the region,” he said. “Maintaining a low overhead as a start-up company is important.”
Poulsbo Audio Video Integration offers a range of products and brands, including Pioneer Electronics, Yamaha Custom audio, Toshiba and Panasonic. Parson said his average customer spends $5,000 to $6,000, though some price tags reach up to the $70,000 mark.
“Eighty percent of our business is residential, at least,” he said. “The sky’s the limit… we work at getting what they want at the right price.”
Parson said unlike his competitors, he’ll take customers with limited budgets.
“We cater to the everyday Joe,” he said. “Not everyone can spend $10,000.”
Parson said he hopes his business will take in $750,000 to $1 million in the coming year, and thinks it’s possible thanks to increased foot traffic and a prime location next to Brock’s Interiors on Forest Rock Lane. But while his business continues to grow and gain attention, it isn’t the success that means most.
“The best part is just putting a smile on the customer’s face,” he said.