Volutone first opened its doors in Los Angeles in 1902 with brothers Jack and Nathan Schireson selling musical instruments to the public. A natural inventor, Nathan’s curiosity led to the creation of his own electric guitars by sliding a magnetic pick-up under the steel strings, a technique that created both volume and tone. Nathan’s inventive personality, combined with his brother Jack’s salesmanship and business skills allowed the company to run successfully. Four generations later, it has stood the test of time.
Currently under Jack’s great-grandson Trevor Hansen’s ownership, Volutone occupies seven distribution centers and is stronger than ever. This year the company is celebrating its 115th anniversary and is proud to announce that 2016 was their most successful year ever. “You don’t make it to 115 years by being complacent,” said Hansen. “Technology changes rapidly and so does our business. I attribute our success to our willingness to evolve, as well as a dedicated team, and supportive vendor partners and dealers.”
Volutone thanks its vendor community for the decades-long relationships, and its talented team of loyal employees, many whom have been with the company between 15 and 30 years. One of the longest standing Volutone employees was Trevor’s grandfather Stanley, who recently passed away at age 98. Stanley’s contribution to the company was significant; his ambition to transition the business from retail to distribution started through a handshake with Sony’s then-president Mr. Akio Morita in the 1950s—their first distributed product was Sony’s transistor radios.
Stanley’s son-in-law, Neville, established Volutone as the reputable distribution company that it is today. And simultaneously, he transitioned Volutone from the 12-volt car audio business to a growing residential AV business in the 1990s. He was also responsible for Volutone’s expansion into multiple locations throughout Southern California and Nevada. In 2016, under Neville’s son Trevor Hansen’s management, Volutone had its most successful year on record.
“About five years ago, we decided we couldn’t grow by simply being a residential AV distributor,” Trevor Hansen said.
The PowerHouse Alliance helped Volutone reach the next level by convincing them to consider new product categories for commercial AV, security, and networking. Many long-term Volutone dealers are now adjusting their business model based on Volutone’s new offerings.
“We're grateful for our PowerHouse Alliance membership and owe special thanks to Dennis Holzer for his support in helping us progress and tackle new business,” Trevor said.
Under Trevor Hansen’s leadership, Volutone has expanded its distribution centers, added free delivery services, and after-hours will-call. Volutone’s success can also be attributed to its ambitious education program of continuous online and in-person trainings and events. In March, alone, Volutone hosts 14 trainings across its seven locations to educate over 400 dealers. Though expensive and time-consuming, training programs are worth the investment; in turn, Volutone’s dealers are well-versed, confident in what they sell and offer customers premium service.
“As we celebrate another milestone, we’re grateful to those who have helped us along the way,” Trevor said. “I would like to sincerely thank our employees, customers and vendor partners for their ongoing loyalty and support over the last 115 years!”