Today we’d like to introduce you to Mark Kruger.
Mark, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
The original Tech Hifi was started in the mid 60’s by two students at MIT in Boston, Massachusetts.
“Tech Hifi was born amid a fever for stereo equipment among college students in the 1960s as recordings multiplied and the technology to play them improved. Its hallmark — knowledgeable salespeople who could satisfy the comparison-shopping stereo connoisseur — helped propel its growth until it became one of the nation’s largest purveyors of consumer electronics, with more than 80 stores, mostly in the Northeast, including more than a dozen in and around New York City. A recession and competition from discount retailers forced it out of business in the mid-1980s.” -New York Times 11.26.08
As technology and the internet evolved. The local “Hifi” brick and mortar stores began to disappear. Audiophiles were left either to purchase equipment on the web or thru larger department stores.
In 2010, we saw the need for the re-emergence of “Tech Hifi”, a Hifi store based on the concepts of the original company. We are currently in our 7th year as Tech Hifi servicing, restoring and selling vintage audio components from 1960 to the present as well select new audio brands as well.
Our unique approach to restoration we refer to as “Restored as Original” or “RAO” performed in our in-house service division the Mark Acoustics Lab. Based on its present condition the component is brought back to as close to new as possible.
Combined with an original or reproduction owner’s manual, 90 Day Warranty is what sets our services apart from our competition.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
With the advancements in audio technologies today the concern was would it be possible to open a “HiFi” only store and not focus on home theater or portable digital audio devices. That’s where the business plan came in play, In 2009 we discovered that very few what is known as “mid-fi” stand alone “brick and mortar” audio stores exist in the expanding virtual marketplace known as the Internet.
Where would the initial “inventory” come from? Unlike new audio products that are shipped from a conventional warehouse to stores we chose to start with select well known vintage brands known for quality, outstanding audio performance and above all desirability among audiophiles. We purchase components from vendors on audio websites, companies and individuals from all over the United States.
The next concern was that since our vintage inventory would require service and restoration that is where we created the “Mark Acoustics Lab” our product and service division located at our retail location in Hanson, MA since 2010. We have a “virtual” location as well on eBay that offers our products as well and the selection is always changing. The eBay “handle” or store name is “techhifitm”. The “tm” refers to our trade marked name we completed in 2012.
Tech Hifi – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
As with any business customer service is #1! When we meet our customers for the first time and prior to anything else we inform them that the most important message regardless of what we sell or service is their 100% satisfaction.
Most consumer electronics companies today focus solely on new state of the art “digital” technologies and tend to disregard the great vintage “analog” products that allowed them to evolve today. Vintage audio is well built and was designed to last the test of time. Since we specialize in vintage audio components and systems; a growing niche market is what separates us from the current audio market. Very few service companies have such a diversified portfolio of services especially with the resurgence of vinyl records. The demand for restored turntables is very strong, many audiophiles prefer their quality and style to some of today’s models.
Tech Hifi an authorized dealer for Ortofon which is the largest suppliers of phono cartridges and replacement styluses. In January of 2017 we became an authorized dealer for U-Turn Audio Orbit turntables designed and built in Boston! This brand far exceeds imported brands in quality, performance and price!
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
As a customer of the “original” Tech Hifi which had in excess of 80 stores from the east coast to the mid-west and closed in the early 1980’s, I am proud to bring back some of the ideals and concepts of their brand. That fine company was known for the phenomenal catalog marketing, prices, and services.
- Address: 1 Liberty Street
Hanson, MA 02341-1127
- Website: www.techhifi.com
- Phone: 781-293-2860
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/techhifi
- Twitter: @realTechHifi
Thanks and much love to my wife, Joan who is Tech Hifi’s CFO. She is the glue that truly holds this all together. I’d also like to thank Russell Wood who originally worked at the “original” Tech Hifi Service Center on Commonwealth Ave in Boston for his expert service expertise, friendship and fine sense of humor!
All photos copyright Tech Hifi Hanson, Ma 2017