As the Foxboro, MA‐based distribution company, Shoreview Distribution Inc., celebrates its 25th Anniversary this year, company owner and founder Luke Furr attributes the company’s success to three key points: knowledge of the industry, a strong sales team and adapting to the latest technologies.
As a musician in the late 1970s and early 80s, Furr developed a vast knowledge of how recording and performing gear worked, and spent much of his time explaining to his bandmates how to hook up a sound system for a gig. It was through this hands-on knowledge of pro audio gear that Furr decided he wanted to pursue a career in the industry.
Luke Furr, Founder, Shoreview Distribution “By September 1989, I’d become VP at Lake Systems,” Furr said. “Then one afternoon, I was on a beach in Florida when a friend at Sony called. They were reorganizing their ‘go to’ market and looking to build a team of independent reps. My friend asked if I could recommend someone for the gig and I immediately said, ‘How about me?’”
This initial interaction led Furr to found Shoreview Distribution, which today represents clients including Sony, Revolabs, JVC, Pioneer, Toshiba, Tascam, Ricoh USA, Crane and more.
“I still count Sony Electronics in the US as one of my primary clients,” Furr explained. “They’ve been an important part of our business from Day One, and over the years, they’ve generously acknowledged our contribution to their bottom line by presenting us with a number of ‘Dealer Of The Year’ awards. Most recently, we were named a select distributor for all Sony professional audio and video products.”
Back in 1989, Furr said the company was “in the heart of a technology explosion,” where the audio industry was starting to develop some great digital innovations, and musicians, producers and engineers were eager to get their hands on new products to incorporate into their work.
This demand directly impacted Shoreview Distribution, as it helped the company build a larger client base and expand its product categories. The push also allowed the company to develop a strong sales team to meet the growing needs of its clients.
Today, the company has two warehouses, one on each coast of the United States, and a total of eight salespeople across the country handling each of the company’s major territories. National sales manager Rory Caponigro leads Shore’s sales team, with six regional sales managers covering their own territory: Mark Rehfuss for the Southeast; Dan Drees for the Midwest; Curtis Harris for the Southwest; Warner Swain for the Northeast; Bo Murgo for the Pacific Northwest; and Berl Shaffer for the North Pacific.
“We’re all in it for the long haul, clients and sales reps alike,” said Furr. “You’ve got to be reliable, accessible and flexible. Your clients need to know they can call you in a pinch and that you’ll go the distance to help them out. Our website and personal touch have always been our attraction, but our sales people in the field are our biggest assets and define us as a distributor.”
“One of the best examples of the skill set and personal flair I’m talking about is Rory Caponigro, who joined Shoreview in 2001,” Furr continued. “Over the past 13 years, he has risen through the ranks to national sales manager. He supervises a crew that ranges from his own NY, NJ, MD, PA turf to seven other skilled reps across the country. He’s very much in synch with my own sales approach—a sense of urgency, and scrupulous follow-through.”
Furr said the company also emphasizes the importance of catering to the manufacturers, especially those with small in-house sales departments. “As the guys in the field, we represent a reliable, fluid, direct point of access between the product users and the product makers. Whatever the message, whether there are technical questions, new ideas for product improvement, custom packing needs or special terms, we provide a reliable channel of communications. Our input helps the manufacturers by providing them with direct feedback from the field,” Furr said.
Over the years, Shoreview Distribution has expanded its services, working with Sony’s Audio and Video divisions on multiple projects including installs at the New England Patriots’ Gillette Stadium and both Madison Square Garden and Yankee Stadium in New York. “We’ve collaborated with systems integrators on assignments for Adelphi and Penn State Universities, and we’ve assisted live sound companies for tours by The Rolling Stones and other major artists,” said Furr. “These gigs are extremely gratifying, and the compensation is not just financial. There’s a real sense of accomplishment in our work.”
Of course, with all the success the company has seen over the past 25 years, that doesn’t mean that the company hasn’t faced challenges along the way. “Like everyone else in the business today, we’re challenged by the realities of falling price points, shrinking product life cycles and constant upgrades. We need to explain the new efficiencies and expanded creative options provided by these updates, and assure our clients that they will recoup their investments,” Furr said.
Technology is one big game changer for the company, as it is becoming more affordable for clients and requires A/V companies to keep up with the latest products. Computers and Internet sales have also impacted Shoreview’s bottom line, said Furr, as new products are constantly coming through for these markets. “We’re also seeing sales growth in conference room construction and upgrades, and House of Worship remains strong,” said Furr.
As for competition, Furr says there has been a driving force for the company to continue to improve its image and services, most recently inspiring it to completely redesign the company Website.
“Old-school values don’t change, but our tools need to be cutting edge. We’re optimistic that there will always be a need for professional sales organizations to get the right tools in the right hands. Our goal is to continue expanding our list of services and to be even more valuable to our two constituencies—buyer and seller.”
Shoreview Distribution Inc.