Hello, and welcome to the area of the site that will (hopefully) answer any type of questions you may have that don’t necessarily fit into the category of "typical". Please scroll down to read about various topics that may be of interest to you, and come back periodically to see new topics brought up and addressed on a weekly basis. Our site is an ever changing work in progress, and as such, we are always happy to hear from you - regarding any questions you may have or suggestions you would like to make - to help us make this site as informative as possible. Please forward your input to webmaster@stereoking.com.

The following information is written in the form of a Question & Answer session between two people (hence the title = Q&A). Whether these two people actually exist or whether this “conversation” is written entirely by one (very witty) person - as it has been suggested – is entirely up for debate.


So, What is the STEREO KING story?
Glad you asked! 27 years old and still going strong, Stereo King is an Oregon based company with locations in Portland, Gresham, Aloha, Newberg, and Salem. We serve the needs of every different type of customer imaginable. From the young driver looking to purchase his (or her) first CD player on a budget - to the CEO of a local "Fortune 100" company who recently upgraded his BMW’s factory (audio) system to sound like the $20,000 dollar (component) setup he has in his home theater room. From the everyday auto alarm to the one-in-a-million dream system for your tournament boat - we do it all here at Stereo King.

We also have a mobile division that serves the needs of some of the most prestigious automobile dealers in the Northwest. And just recently, we have taken over the operations of a well known and much respected storefront in the Boise (Idaho) area. We're very happy to welcome Dick's Stereo into the Stereo King Oregon family of companies.

Stereo King employs only the most qualified technicians in the industry to work on our customer's vehicles (we fix the big chain store’s "free" installation jobs), and we staff the most knowledgeable sales team in the area. We have always been the place to go for the budget conscious buyer, but we don’t see why anyone should pay more than they have to for even the most sought after & premium brands of mobile electronics.

Simply put, we ask for the opportunity to provide you with your next mobile electronics purchase. After you've experienced the difference between buying from a faceless (and impersonal) national chain and our locally operated (and muy personable) team, we're confident that (much like we have for the thousands of regular customers that we see every year) we'll have earned your future business for years to come!

Fantastic! So, do you have a basic mission?
Yes. We are dedicated to providing our customers with the best information, products, service & pricing in all of the great Northwest - all while having a great time doing it - Period!

Well that all sounds great! But what about specific questions I have?
Fire away!

Okay, but will you quit talking like a paid professional announcer?
We never thought you'd ask yo.

Great! So what brands do you guys carry?
Stereo King can provide you with just about every dope brand of 12 volt product available on the market yo. Among tons of other brands, we carry yer' Kenwood, Clarion, Alpine, Pioneer, JL Audio, Audison, JVC, Infinity, DEI (Viper), Kicker, Morel, Rockford Fosgate, Escort, BEL, Rosen, Zapco, and yer' Vizualogic. That's Visual with a Z yo. We carry many other brands which you can see on our products page.

Ok, why are you talking like Sylvester Stallone now?
(ahem) Sorry, we thought we were talking "street"...... We'll try to cut that out...... Go Raaawk!

Oookaay, so do you guys also sell your stuff on your website like the 1000’s of (unidentifiable & unaccountable) online dealers who do?
Well, since purely "online" resellers (or "e-tailers" as they are often called) can't let our local customers see, hear, or touch the goods that they're thinking of purchasing with their hard earned American dollars, and since many of these "e-tailers" are nothing more than guys (in their parent's basements) reselling stuff via the "gray market", and since many other of these “e-tailers” have only been in business for (all of) 8 months, AND because many of the goods that they sell are *not warranted (by the manufacturers who made them), AND because most of them are not "authorized" dealers, AND (deep breath) because pre-sale advice & after-sale support isn't always reliable (or timely) when it comes strictly from an anonymous web response or an online forum, it’s not really a fair comparison to begin with.

But what about Amazon.com or Crutchfield?
Oh, those guys are okay I guess. But because we sell at more competitive prices than they do (don't forget the shipping charges), we suggest that you use these sites for research and opinions only. Better to steer your purchases toward a reputable (local) business who has invested their resources into the same community that you live in yes? And, we provide you with something that no "web-only" company can. That's right, instant gratification baby! Should we mention the issue of shipping again?

Well what about the lesser known websites? For instance, last week on hotstereodealsoutlet.com I saw a 7,000 watt, chrome plated, diamond encrusted, LED illuminated amplifier on their site for only $39 bucks. And if you paid the $125 in shipping charges with a non-voidable cashier's check, they were offering a matching pimp chalice at no additional charge. So can you guys match that crazy deal?
Uhhhh..... Not so much, yo.

Well, what about ebay?
You know what they say; "You pay your dollar - You take your chances".

Alright, so if you don't sell online, then what's the "clearance" area of your website all about then?
We may not sell gear online, but we do advertise special deals on items that (for one reason or another) we want to move out of our stores. Check back weekly for special "internet only" sale prices on various discounted items such as: discontinued models, one of a kinds, scratch-n-dings, refurbished product, customer returns, demo units, and other new stuff we're just plain overstocked with. Remember, all of these items can be purchased directly in our stores and we’re happy to arrange transactions on the phone or via e-mail (via conventional and other methods of payment) as well.

Got it! So you mentioned something a little earlier about the "gray market". What is that?
Check it out yo. There is a whole market driven around acquiring and reselling items that manufacturers and vendors won't make available to unauthorized resellers. And this holds true for more than just electronics. Watches, jewelry, clothes, and much more, there are gray markets for just about any kind of luxury good that you can think of. But buyers beware! Due to the fact that these products are going through the hands of people that the original manufacturers (who built them) don't approve of, they don't have the same factory warranty that items purchased through reputable sellers have. Therefore, these items do not have the same value as goods that are purchased through an "authorized" dealer have.

I don't understand. Why would a manufacturer not warranty an item unless it was purchased through some fancy schmancy "authorized" dealer? Can you give me an example? (and watch the "yo's" please).
It's quite simple actually; Things occasionally break. (Check that) ALL THINGS occasionally break. Think about it (as an example), if the premier automobile manufacturers in the world (think Bentley or Mercedes for the sake of argument) could make a car that absolutely wouldn't ever break for Five years or Fifty Thousand miles, they wouldn't need to offer their typical 5/50 warranties would they? But they can't (and so they do). I mean, all good auto manufacturers (and electronics manufacturers for that matter) give their customers a guarantee of quality by issuing a warranty. This way when you buy a reputable product, you know you won't be on the hook to replace it if it blows up the next week. Right?

Right. And …
… and the manufacturer must factor in a value for this guaranty since (for every certain amount of units they produce) this warranty is going to cost them money (for every time that they estimate they will have to replace or repair the occasional defective product) right?

Right. So…
….so what if this manufacturer was supplying a large supply of a product (let’s say a CD player) to a reseller outside of the U.S. for whom they didn’t offer the same warranties (as they did for their American buyers). Let’s say, to someone in Brazil for example?

I think that the manufacturer would probably sell the same products that they sell in the states (with a warranty) to their Brazilian buyer (without a warranty) since they won’t have to worry about those warranty expenses (after the sale).
Bingo! So now take the next logical step. What if this Brazilian buyer turned around and re-sold these same CD players back to somebody else in the states for a small profit (remember they bought them for less than their “authorized” U.S. counterparts did)?

I think that this unauthorized buyer would probably be (commonly known as) a “gray marketeer”.
Right again, and when this “marketer” and their resellers (who probably refer to themselves as a “wholesalers”) tell you that they are selling you warranted products..

They are probably full of horse poop right?
Because the original manufacturer (who can easily identify a grey market item via a hidden ID number) would never honor a warranty on one of these CD players, yes, they are indeed full of horse poop.

Hey! Now that you mention it, I remember a situation when a friend of mine once purchased some speakers through one of those (less than well established) e-tailer websites. I remember she tried to return the second pair they sent her (because one of them was defective) and had a really hard time getting through to anyone in the so-called “customer service” department. When she was finally able to talk to a live person, they (at first) told her that the speakers must have been damaged while being shipped to her and that she would have to deal directly with the shipping company if she wanted to be compensated for the damaged goods. Not satisfied with that answer, she called them back the next week and got hold of someone else who tried to claim that the damage must have been caused by her stereo. They said that this type of damage wouldn’t be covered by any warranty either. Now by this time she was fairly suspicious of the company’s tactics and she finally got mad. She proceeded to write a letter to the company’s president, the manufacturer of the speakers, and the Better Business Bureau, complaining about the unfair treatment that she felt that she was receiving. Well, she got a quick response from the BBB saying there wasn’t much that they could do for her (since this company didn’t seem to care whether they had a bad rating with their organization or not). Next she heard back from the manufacturer saying that - can you guess - the issue was between the e-tailer and her (since these speakers weren’t sold through one of their “authorized” dealers to begin with). This left her with only the e-tailer to deal with.
So what happened?

After about a month’s worth of unreturned messages, she discovered that the website was dormant and that this “e-tailer” had gone out of business.
That’s rough! Unfortunately, your friend’s story is all too common. What I don’t get though, is why she bought a second pair of speakers from them to begin with?

She didn’t buy the second set. The first pair that she ordered had to be sent back because they had sent her the wrong size (for the car she described to them)!!!

I’m very tired now.
Please, take a moment to collect yourself before the next question.

……………………Better. Next question: Do you guys install it for "FREE" if I buy it from you?
The short answer is; Nobody you'd want working on your vehicle would ever really install anything for free (and anyone who tells you differently probably doesn't respect your intelligence too much). After all, any (quality) shop will have obvious costs involved with securing qualified technicians to work on their customer’s vehicles right? The better answer can actually be posed as a math question; if we sell you a CD player for $99 bucks, then charge you $35 to professionally install it in your vehicle, and charge you $15 for a factory wiring harness = you spend a total of $149 bucks. But if you buy that same model of CD player for $139 at Circuit Best Toys, plus pay them $17 for the harness, and an additional $3 for their (in)famous “shop” charge = for a total of $159 - but they tell you they're installing it for "FREE" - who’s kidding who?!?!

Got it (lol).
Now what if the nice, young, quick learning kid who performed that “free” install just so happened to nick the airbag sensor wire of your 2006 Chevy Tahoe? Would you still consider that a “free” install? By the way, we often fix those guys “free” installs on a weekly basis. The fact is, there is no such thing as a free install (or a free lunch for that matter), period!

Makes sense to me. So what kind of warranty does Stereo King offer on it's work?
Our policy has been the same from the day that we opened our first store (27 years ago) to the present: The integrity of our unaltered work is guaranteed (to the original customer) for the life of the vehicle. Always has been & always will be.

Who do you employ to work on your customer’s vehicles? It's not those same inexperienced people that the big mega-stores employ is it?
No, it's not! Stereo King cherry picks from the industry’s best technicians. Our installers come to us from various aspects of the industry. Some may specialize in certain areas more than others, but one thing that they all carry in common is an understanding of today’s vehicles and what constitutes the best approach to enhancing the performance of your car with products from today’s leading 12 volt electronics manufacturers. They all receive regular factory training, but the most applicable knowledge they possess comes from doing what they do on a daily basis for many years. Stereo King only employs full-time installers with a minimum of 3 years of direct experience in our industry (but most of our installers have an average of 9 years of experience each).

Do you perform “Custom” work?
As often as any shop in the Northwest (and usually more often than that), we have an elite circle of installers within our company who aren’t really satisfied unless they are fabricating a fiberglass enclosure for a new Denali, installing a custom radar system install on an 07’ S-Class Benz, integrating an upgraded performing speaker and amplifier package into the stock (Bose) head unit of a new Audi All-Road, or blazing new paths in watercraft audio system installation. And yet there are others still, who prefer to work on the bread and butter of our business; Alarms & remote start systems on everyday cars. We truly do it all at the King.

Wait a minute, you guys work with watercraft too?
Do we ever! Just ask the people at the most well known and respected marinas in the Portland/Metro area. They’ll tell you the same thing; if you want it done right, just go to Stereo King. Come visit our Portland (Clackamas Town Center) store some time to see for yourself, as we usually have a couple of brand new tournament boats in the shop for you to see what can be done with yours.

Your company really sounds like the place that I can trust to help me make my next Mobile Audio, Video, or Security purchase as fun and affordable as possible! I do have a lot of other questions I'd to ask you though.
No problem! Just come back here soon and we'll address more of your questions the next time you log on to stereoking.com

And remember, you can always directly contact the helpful staff at any of our stores (for answers to questions like these and others) by just going to the "LOCATIONS" section of this website. Phone numbers, addresses, hours of operation, and directions to any of our six Northwest locations are right there for your convenience.

Thanks and we'll pick back up here real soon....


Well, we're back already with a new question. This one just recently submitted from a Mr. Don Blanchette (of Portland, Oregon). Don Writes:

"Your company sounds like it would be a great place to work at. How can I start the job application process?"
Great question. Stereo King has always employed highly qualified people to work within our company, and we're always on the lookout for our next great team member. Maybe that next great piece of the puzzle is you Don.

So just what does 'highly qualified' mean? Well, that depends on the job of course, and it does mean different things for different positions here at the King, but there are a few qualities that every member in the Stereo King Organization must always possess. Among these qualities are: knowledge of our specialty (12 volt electronics), integrity, and a commitment to do the job the right way (everyday). Installer positions are open only to those applicants with a verifiable, recent, and impressive history of employment in this field. We also like to hire people who like to work in a fun atmosphere.

Are you interested?

If so, please respond with a (brief) cover letter that tells us why you think you would make a good fit for our company (along with your resume) to jobs@stereoking.com . Upon submitting your information your name will be noted, and if the information you have forwarded us suggests that you might be a match for a job opening (now or at a later date), we will put you under consideration for that job. Qualified applicants submitting a brief cover message speaking directly to the type of position desired (and some form of resume) will always move to the top of our list! In addition, you can always just come in and ask for an application for a position at any of our six Oregon stores. Feel free to fill it out and hand it back to a cashier or to take it with you to send back (to 503-212-1546) at your leisure.

We always contact applicants (who appear to be a good match for a position) within 21 days of receiving their info. If you do not receive any further correspondence from us, let us thank in advance you for your interest. We will keep your data on file, and will contact you if another position (that may suit your qualifications) should open up in the future. We’re honored that you consider this a company that’s not only great to shop at, but a great place to work.

Thanks again for the question Don.


And here's another. This one comes to us from a Sean Kelly (of Vancouver, Washington). Sean asks:

My dad said he shopped at Stereo King when he was my age. Are you guys the same company?
Indeed we are Sean (there has never been another Stereo King)! We remain the oldest operating Mobile Electronics retailer in the metro area today. We have watched dozens of (so called) *competitors come and go over the last Quarter Century, and we'd like to think that it's the solid relationships that have been built out of goodwill and trust with our customers that have allowed us to stay at the head of the pack.

*A (partial) list of competitors - some honorable & some not so much - who have come into town to try to take the crown over the years.
All of these companies are now either out of the Mobile Electronics business (in Portland), or have gone out of business (at one time or another) only to have resurfaced under a different name: *Stereo Super Stores *Silo *Tom Peterson Electronics *Smiths Home Furnishings & Electronics *Cartronics *Car Tunes *CJ's *The Stereo Doctor *Performance Autosound *AvinCar *Chelsea Car Audio *Car Stereo City *Magnolia Hi-Fi *Gateway Car Stereo *The Good Guys *Future Shops.

Thank you for your question Sean.

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