Michael’s Audio & Video settles into new Alco location
January 21, 2010
It’s 1983 on Chicago’s posh North Shore and a young Michael Schurer is fresh out of college, trying to decide how he’s going to put that degree to good use. He applies for a job driving trucks, but a wise boss hates to see that degree go to waste and hires him instead to install high-end home theater systems for the rich and famous.VCRs are still a new technology. Space guzzling, large-screen TV’s with external front projectors are the most luxurious equipment available on the market. And, home theater installers have just discovered how to tap into the multi-channel audio recordings on video tapes to recreate the movie theater affect at home, giving birth to a multi-billion dollar business.Flash forward to 2010. Nearly three decades later, Michael is still on the cutting edge of home theater systems, only now he is in business for himself in Fraser, Colo., and has been for 15 years. The equipment has all changed – he works with technology that would have been inconceivable to 1983 Michael: Flat panel TVs, Blue-ray, High Definition systems and satellite internet. And, despite the onslaught of superstores in Denver selling flat screen TVs for a song, Michaels Audio & Video is holding strong on the same three principals that guided the business in 1983: Customer service, competitive pricing and the highest level of quality.Things have changed in some ways. Where home theater systems were once the playgrounds of the wealthy, with today’s technology almost anyone can experience a movie-like setting in their living room. Michael still has a knack for turning a basement into a state-of-the-art home theater, but he can also hang a flat screen TV in a living room so that it can swivel to be seen from the kitchen, or he can help hook up a TV and satellite to all those other gizmos and gadgets on the stereo system for people who are befuddled by wiring and technology. He goes beyond just installation, training homeowners how to use their systems so they know which buttons to push to turn on the TV and which to push to watch a movie or listen to music. “You can buy the product at many places. I want people to come to us because they know that whatever the need AFTER they buy the product will be taken care of too,” he said.Before he even sells a system, Michael makes certain the customer knows what they are buying.”The more informed and educated the customer is, the more likely they are to choose exactly the right product for themselves,” he said. “If we ask the right questions, we can usually guide them to exactly the perfect choice for their home.”He won’t sell a piece of equipment with parts that can’t be replaced. “Many of the new flat screen TV sets available today reach their price points by not supporting the product,” he said. “In other words, they are not importing parts or offering repair on the sets. We stick with brands that offer parts and service. We feel that if you are making an investment in a television of many hundreds or thousands of dollars that it should be repairable if it ever has a problem. And, we offer that service on everything we sell and install. We have built our business on that principle.”His business has expanded in other ways with the changing times. Remember those first universal remotes that were the size of a coffee table book with about 100 indecipherable buttons? Today’s universal remote looks more like a touchscreen computer. It can turn on the television, adjust the heat, lower the shades, dim the lights and the switch on the security system. Michaels sells and installs those systems too and, as always, instruction and education are part of the deal.He sells ‘green’ laundry systems that convert regular washing machines into soapless machines. He’s an authorized dealer for XM-Sirus satellite radio and DirecTV and Dish Network. And, when you are trying to get rid of that outdated computer or television, he is also a recycle center. He donates older equipment to schools and charities.Just because something’s not on the showroom floor, doesn’t mean Michaels doesn’t sell it. From cables and speakers wires to car stereos and dvd players, Michaels offers almost everything a superstore does with competitive prices and none of that “big box store attitude.” And now, Michaels has a larger showroom. Located in the Alco shopping plaza in Fraser, the new storefront provides more space in back for storage, an enclosed sound room to test out stereo equipment and a lot more retail floor to display TVs, home theater furniture and other equipment. – Reid Armstrong can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19610 or firstname.lastname@example.org.