Car audio store, thriving through pandemic, triples footprint
A thriving York County store called Sanford Sound, specializing in car audio products and services, had outgrown its lease space.
So the owner scooped up another retail building just three doors down that’s more than three times the size of his original space.
Jack Bogard bought 1438 Main St. from MS & C Properties LLC for $625,000.
Suzanne McKechnie of Investcomm Commercial Group and Gary Samia of Century 21 Northeast brokered the deal, which closed Dec. 8.
“Sanford Sound is a longtime retail and service business that is one of the few businesses in southern Maine that has survived and continues to thrive during the pandemic,” said McKechnie, who represented Bogard.
Bogard had his eye on 1438 Main St., formerly a Maine Stove & Chimney store, for over a year, the broker added.
“We knew that was his target,” she said.
Bogard operated for 25 years in a 2,500-square-foot location.
“We made it work,” he said.
His new space is 8,000 square feet, which include 4,000 square feet for a showroom and a separate space to work on cars. He opened in the new space on Jan. 4.
Even in the tighter confines of his previous space, the business has done well through the pandemic.
“We had an amazing year,” with a 15% to 20% increase in revenue compared with 2019, he said. “I think a lot of it has to do with the health crisis and people being unable to go on vacation. Instead of maybe going away and spending $4,000 on a family trip, they’ve chosen to maybe redo a room, maybe with audio and lighting upgrades.”
Born and raised in Michigan, Bogard relocated to Maine in the late 1980s.
“I was the guy in the Maine mall who sold the Styrofoam airplanes and gliders in the middle of the mall,” he said. “I traveled all over the U.S selling those planes.”
By the time he reached Maine, though, he was burnt out on the gig. He switched to selling T-shirts and other items from a booth at Old Orchard Beach.
“Then I met a girl from Sanford. That’s how I ended up here,” he said.
He always liked cars and audio.
“My family owned nightclubs when I was a kid, so I was brought up around music,” he said. “As a kid I was always the guy who tinkered with the wiring and did the window tinting in people’s cars.”
The combination suited him to become a salesperson at Sanford Sound, which he bought from the owners within six months.
In addition to car stereo systems, the shop offers car security systems, stereo and lighting installations, audio for other vehicles such as motorcycles and boats, and outdoor residential audio and lighting. The business employs four along with Bogard.
The business outgrew his lease space years ago, he said. He kept an eye out for larger locations, knowing that he didn’t want to go too far from the original location because of his existing clientele.
He used the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 504 loan program to help finance the purchase and renovation. The 504 program provides long-term, fixed-rate financing used to acquire fixed assets for expansion or modernization. The program includes a bank for a first loan and the SBA for a second loan; the second loan is handled by a certified development company. In this case, the bank was Partners Bank and the certified development company was Granite State Development Corp. in Portland.
He was slammed with business through Christmas, so he began renovations of the new store the day after the holiday. As a long-time Sanford firefighter, and coming from a large family, he had a lot of friends and family members who helped.
“I closed my store for the week and, within one week, we repainted the shop, stripped and waxed the floors, redid the basement, built the shelves,” he said. “I had 14 people show up to help me paint. It was an amazing outpouring of friends and family.”
At his previous location, inventory was pretty much piled on top of each other.
“Now I can spread things out and categorize things, which makes it flow better for customers,” he said. “I’ve got two vehicles on display in the showroom now. You walk in and you actually see a car and an off-road vehicle, all done up with audio equipment.”