Hello, and welcome! Thank you for this opportunity to discuss my background and experience, as well as to elaborate on what inspired me to start my own business, and to launch www.venuesupply.com
I began in "the lighting and sound business" in 1982, working for McFaddin Ventures in Design & Development. For those of you who are not familiar, McFaddin was a nightclub hospitality company that was the definition of success in the nightclub hospitality business at the time. Known for concepts that were both trendy and innovative, McFaddin owned and operated over 30 successful nightclub destinations across the U.S. in the 1980s. I worked in the Entertainment Services Division, which designed, procured, and maintained steller audio, lighting, and video systems. McFaddin became known for their over-the-top entertainment systems. Our goal was to shoot for the "wow" factor by seeking out the latest in technology & innovation. My 7 years with McFaddin was both memorable and educational, providing me with infinite knowledge that would prove instrumental in years to come.
In 1988 I was offered a position with CORE Systems, a sound, lighting, contractor whose reputation in the field of hospitality entertainment was second to none. Grif Palmer, one of the founders and then sole owner, was a person that I considered a mentor for the years that would follow. In fact, I first met Grif while working at McFaddin, I still remember the day when he drove in from California to go to work as the head DJ at Confetti Houston. In 1990 I was offered the challenge of starting up the equipment sales dept for CORE, soon to become known as The CORE Store. I was of the mind-set that customers would take to a concept of buying sound & lighting equipment without the added cost of hiring a contractor. I considered it much like "Home Depot", do it yourself and save. While some might wonder why a contracting company would create its own competition, the results were favorable for both operations. Cross-marketing and creating what we called a "one stop" opportunity for customers caught on, and, over time, many imitators followed.
The success of The CORE Store was driven by its associations with key brands of audio and lighting and a knack of marketing the product to clubs and dj's in a manner that would appeal to their senses as well as their wallets. My first catalog was a 1 page typewritten flyer that I prepared on an old IBM Selectric. From there each subsequent piece grew larger and soon became a full color catalog that I produced and distributed several times a year. Exhibiting at Nightclub & Bar Shows, advertising in key industry magazines, adding a toll free line and lots of direct mail, together, fueled our growth in the early 90s.
It was in 1995 that the first CORE Store website was launched. The first website was small & cumbersome in comparison to the sites online today. But, for its time it was nothing less than a marketing success. Eventually, the site was redesigned and web administration brought in house. This move allowed us to manage content on a daily basis, introducing the latest products to our customers. Thanks to the rapid advancement of web search databases we gained a substantial presence for such a small company.
In 2004 CORE moved from it's inner city locale to one that was, unfortunately, less accessible to our key client base. Despite this, thanks in part to a larger showroom and store, the walk-in business steadily picked up. Through the years, our toll free and online business was responsible for the lionshare of our business.
As the saying goes, "all good things must come to an end", in March of 2007 CORE Systems and The CORE Store closed down for good. After 18 years at CORE, it was a time for me to reflect back and decide what was next. It was clear to me that my relationships with my customers and suppliers that had gotten me to this point. So, it only seemed logical that this, too, would influence my next move.
I came to the decision that it was time to try to make it on my own, that I would call the business Venue Supply. The name seemed fitting since a "venue" can be so many things, but a successful commercial venue often relies on someone to supply the "wow" to draw the crowd. After all, that's what I have been doing for years, so why stop now!
I am Bill Kelley, and it is my utmost pleasure to welcome you to www.venuesupply.com