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Company pumps up the volume

Adapting to an evolving industry, SoundMan Car Audio moves to bigger location, produces online show

Posted: July 3, 2011 1:30 a.m.
Updated: July 3, 2011 1:30 a.m.

Doug Bernards, who runs the firm’s day-to-day operations, poses in the new showroom Wednesday.

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Move over, “American Chopper.” Long-time Santa Clarita business SoundMan Car Audio may one day soon be coming to TV with its own reality show. 

The company just recently moved to a new location with six auto bays to accommodate its expanding custom-design business, giving SoundMan some 3,500 square feet of space to work in now.

Today, Doug Bernards runs the day-to-day operation of SoundMan; originally opened by his father, Bruce, as an audio retail store in 1974.

Bernards has steadily expanded the business into new arenas, including an innovative audio/visual custom design and installation business.

“We needed more room for the business to upscale in this economy,” Bernards said. “We do a lot of fabrication and woodwork, and needed dedicated space; as well as a place to leave cars while we work on them.”

While the business still sells and installs retail products, SoundMan designed a custom Apple iPad installation kit last year, which it not only installs on clients’ cars but also sells online, as well as auto shops around the country.

Reality TV
SoundMan also began producing its own reality program. “Amplified” is shown on YouTube and its YouTube channel soundmancaraudio attracted more than 4.2 million views, Bernards said.

In the latest episode, the crew gets settled into a new location while employees get to work in new environs and with some troublesome installation projects.

“It’s basically about sharing our life online and showing others what we do,” Bernards said.

“We’re like brothers, and it shows our relationships and how we interact with each other. People like seeing us have fun while we work.”

Someone else who liked the show was a TV producer who contacted the shop.

“We’re negotiating a TV show now,” Bernards said. “The producer is trying to get a network to pick it up,” he said.

Business skyrocketed
Business really slowed down during the recession, and 2009 was cause for concern for the established Santa Clarita business. SoundMan has five employees.

Then Bernards got the idea to begin producing videos and launched “Amplified” in 2010.

The innovative webcast, blogs and Internet programs SoundMan created catapulted the company’s popularity and increased business, Bernards said.

“Since then, business is up nearly 150 percent,” Bernards said.

Loyal customer
Mat Mubeen, of Newhall, has been going to SoundMan for 11 years. Mubeen has had a lot of cars in his life and has been bringing all his cars to the shop since he discovered it about seven years ago.

The prices are always absolutely reasonable for the quality of the work the shop does, Mubeen said. And he enjoys the atmosphere and employees.

“There’s literally no other place I’d go,” Mubeen said.

Raised at SoundMan
Bernards remembers wandering around SoundMan as a little kid.

Bernards can recall helping his dad, at age 14, move all the inventory from their San Fernando Valley store to their first Santa Clarita store on Sierra Highway.

The business has changed so much in 18 years and has evolved into more customized areas from standard radio installations, he said.

SoundMan’s relocation now allows the company to have a dedicated woodworking and fabrication area to build customized speaker boxes and panels for cars of all kinds — from the ordinary passenger car to classics and hot rods.

“This business is all about having fun and being proud of something,” Bernards said.

SoundMan is located at 26524 Ruether Avenue in Santa Clarita, off Soledad Canyon Road behind Home Depot.

Customers can reach the company at (661) 254-3077 or go online at www.soundmancaraudio.com.

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