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One man’s bust is another man’s boom
by Jessica Garcia
Apr 30, 2009 | 1029 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
<a href=>Tribune/Debra Reid</a> - The economic slowdown has increased his home theater sales said Joe Bemus, owner of Systems of Nevada. Clips of the latest James Bond movie play on a demonstration model.
Tribune/Debra Reid - The economic slowdown has increased his home theater sales said Joe Bemus, owner of Systems of Nevada. Clips of the latest James Bond movie play on a demonstration model.
Sitting in his showroom, Joe Bemus has probably watched the introduction to the James Bond film “Casino Royale” several times, and the drawn-out, action-packed chase sequence at the beginning impresses him every time.

Of course, the film’s star, Daniel Craig, looks impressive on the large screen and polished in the Blu-Ray DVD format, as well. Joe, the owner of Systems of Nevada on Greg Street, likes to show that kind of quality to potential customers who might be dazzled enough to have him install the look and sound of the home theater system in their own home.

Systems of Nevada celebrates its twentieth anniversary this year and Joe said business is still going strong in spite of the economy — perhaps even because of it.

“I was working at Sears for 14 years and decided I didn’t want to retire at Sears,” Joe said of the birth of his business. “So I got a contractor’s license and opened Jan. 1, 1989.”

Today, Joe sells Beam central vacuum systems, security alarms, home theater equipment and a new lighting system called ChannelBrite.

Every couple of years, the store that once prominently sold vacuums brings on another residential and commercial application.

The ChannelBrite Corp.’s permanent outdoor LED lighting system, with its custom, energy-efficient lights, do away with residents’ need to climb a ladder to put up and take down Christmas lights every year, Joe said. With a central control switch, home or business owners also have the option to change colors to match any occasion year-round.

“They’re more cost-effective and have low voltage,” he said.

But home theater systems are becoming higher commodities as going out to the movies isn’t always affordable nowadays. With layoffs and careful watch of the family budget, most customers are investing in the set-up of large screens and speakers to transform their own family rooms – or any room of the house – into their own personal theaters, Joe said.

“They can watch TV on these things in the kitchen while they’re cooking or in the bedroom,” Joe said. “They don’t have to have a dedicated room in the house for a theater.”

Adrienne Bemus, spokesperson for Systems of Nevada, said there’s a market for the installation of home theater equipment in new houses — at least, when construction’s up.

“We have felt the effects of the housing market with people not moving into new homes,” Adrienne said. “We’ve definitely had to tighten our belts, but that’s not to say we don’t see things on horizon.”

Adrienne said Systems of Nevada saw quite a bit of business back in 2004 and 2005 when the housing market was at its peak. But even with tighter wallets now, some customers are still choosing to invest to make their homes more desirable when the economy turns around and houses are ripe for selling.

“A lot of people have chosen to stay in their homes,” Adrienne said. “There’s no reason to sell right now. A lot of people want to add value to their homes and something to enjoy, so people want to put in something like a security system or a central vacuum system.”

Wiring the house for speakers or alarm systems is often part of Joe’s employees work or may complete the job the contractors leave in pre-wired houses. However, Joe said, some homeowners of older houses may want their homes retrofitted with wiring and he will often refuse to hide the wiring under the floors or walls if his employees have to tear up the original features.

Joe said one of the tenets most important to him about his small business on Greg Street is the customer service he provides. He has 10 employees, four of whom install the systems in his customers’ homes or businesses while the others are responsible for sales and administrative work. That keeps him afloat even as many locals flock to the big-box stores like Best Buy for their electronic needs.

“My employees are the best there are,” he said proudly. “I don’t mind a little competition.”

Unfortunately, Joe said, one of the downsides of his business is seeing an increase in the number of security alarm purchases as more break-ins are occurring from more desperate people on the streets.

“More windows, especially children’s windows, are being broken into,” Bemus said.

Pat Anderson of Sparks recently hired Systems to have a security system installed. Anderson said she had never lived alone until last summer, when her husband, who she was married to for 62 years, passed away.

“I do feel safer, like at night when my husband was my comfort zone,” Anderson said. “I don’t really feel threatened in my neighborhood and my neighbors are all lovely.”

Anderson said she thought the Systems employee who installed her alarm system was professional.

“We really should do local businesses,” she said.

Regardless, the business maintains its share of optimism.

“I know that when things turn around, it helps us to be established,” Adrienne said. “We have good support from homeowners and the builders we’ve worked with. They trust us. We’re really lucky.”
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