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Crutchfield Captures Consumer Direct

Charlottesville, Va. —Bill Crutchfield’s baby has grown from a 12-volt catalog to arguably the best online A/V store in the business — without losing sight of its mobile or direct mail roots.

Crutchfield founded the company in 1974 because he was unable to find a local car stereo dealer or mail order business to help him outfit his old Porsche.

Today the $200 million-plus operation spans all manner of mobile A/V; offers an expansive selection of portable audio and digital photography, and has entered the home with the full panoply of home theater components and accessories. But Crutchfield continues to carry across all categories a lesson learned early on: to provide complete product information, step-by-step installation guides, and exceptional service.

Behind that service is a 1.5 million-cubic-foot warehouse that allows Crutchfield to keep 93 percent of all featured products in stock and to deliver them within two to three business days. As industry consultant Robert Ain noted in his nomination, “Bill Crutchfield sets the standard. A high-margin operator in a low margin business, his care and feeding of his customers is to be admired by all.”