Custom Audio Video Celebrates their 18th Anniversary with a Sense of Philosophy

Charlotte Nauert

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

Custom Audio Video in Bluffton is celebrating their 18-year anniversary. Since first opening their doors in 1996, the enterprising home theater company has undergone an evolution that has brought not only hard-earned success, but a resolute understanding of their own business philosophy in the process. 

“It is so much fun to be in an industry that is constantly changing and growing and simplifying,” Sandy Benson, the company’s founder, says. “But the best part is making people’s dreams come true.”

Sandy first opened Custom Audio Video when her husband was building custom homes and found it difficult to meet the audio/visual needs of many clients. Since there were such limited audio resources in Savannah, Hilton Head, and Bluffton at the time, the couple’s founding premise was a solid one: to fill a niche with enormous growth potential. That mission has done nothing but expand and grow since then, carrying Sandy and her team all the way to their 18th anniversary. 

In just their first four years in business, Custom Audio Video entered the 21st century with a burgeoning business and 20 employees. They relocated from their original location in Sheridan Park, Bluffton, to a new facility with 6,000 square feet of floor space. “This new showroom was designed for individuals to experience Custom Audio Video in a home setting for the first time,” Sandy explains. “The plan was to have it be a hands-on studio, and we built the showroom with actual home layouts in mind.” It was, in many ways, a game changer for the field of custom audio-video. 

By 2006, their staff count was up to 33, and remained at that high until the downturn in the economy began around 2008. “The dramatic decline in construction impacted Custom Audio Video’s business, but we learned so much during those difficult times,” Sandy says. “We developed a philosophy then that I feel has kept us on the forefront of this industry in both commercial and residential applications ever since.”

Put simply, that philosophy is this : People don’t buy what you do—they buy why you do it. “At Custom Audio Video, we believe in three things: autonomy, mastery, and purpose,” Sandy explains. “These are the driving forces behind all that we do.”

To Sandy, autonomy is self-directed freedom. “We break through the humdrum to reach another level of excitement and imagination,” she says, explaining how she helps clients attain their own autonomy in their daily lives. 

“Mastery is comprehensive knowledge or skill,” Sandy goes on. “We honor that in the importance of continual training and education of our staff.” With a team  of experts that is now expanding once again, mastery is at the heart of every interaction in the Custom Audio Video showroom. 

“Finally, purpose is what moves people to remake their worlds,” Sandy says. “We encourage our customers to imagine what they want so that we can provide the solutions.” In a business built on fulfilling clients’ wildest dreams, a sense of purpose is never far. 

As the economy has improved, Custom Audio Video’s success has soared. “We have been truly blessed by our fabulous team of 15,” Sandy says. “Their expertise and dedication to this industry, our clients, and the business as a whole has allowed us to continue to flourish and retain our stronghold in the industry—both in the low-country and beyond.” 

That identity in the community is integral to what Sandy and her team have been doing for 18 years now. She draws her inspiration from Booker T. Washington, who said “No man, who continues to add something to the material, intellectual, and moral well-being of the place in which he lives, is left long without proper reward.” With this in mind, Custom Audio Video remains a staple in Bluffton and the surrounding areas. “We continue to give back to and support the community that so graciously allows us to thrive,” Sandy says, “and we always will.” 

As the home theater experts for Bluffton, Hilton Head, Savannah, and beyond, Custom Audio Video is looking forward to many more anniversaries to come. And in the meantime, Sandy is excited about the every-day. “It is my privilege to work with an expert team whose smart solutions continue to drive business beyond the mundane and into the next millennium,” she says. “What we do is bring enjoyment to people's lives. Our goal is to exceed our clients’ boldest expectations, and in doing so, there is a constant and deep-seated satisfaction in the work that we do.”