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During the 2008 recession, Jim Deacon was forced to shutter his Sight & Sound Home Entertainment business in Centralia after 42 years. But his nephew, Matt Knecht, didn’t want to see the family legacy disappear. So Knecht purchased equipment from his uncle and helped start Sight & Sound Audio Connections and has been going strong for 12 years.
“We figured, it’s 2008, everything’s failing. If we’re going to fail, then we’ll just be a statistic. If we don’t, then nothing can stop us,” Knecht said. “And here we are today.”
Sight & Sound’s main business is automotive electrical, basically anything automotive that deals with electrical work. Many folks come in to get their window fixed that won’t roll up, their door locks don’t work or their car won’t start in the morning. They also specialize in car audio, lighting, retrofits, CB radios and electrical troubleshooting. They are the only company in Lewis County that not only sells CB radios and all the accessories, but also installs them.
Knecht said they have some of the best and brightest turn signals, license plate lights, interior lighting and specialty lighting on the market right now.
“The main reason we do that is in Lewis County there are a lot of dark roads,” Knecht said. “We want to keep everybody safe. We like to fix that and retrofit a majority of vehicles that can benefit from having the ability to be seen at night, especially in these days right now with it being so dark when you leave for work and get home from work.
Sight & Sound Audio Connections also hosts yearly International Auto Sound Challenge Association competitions, where car audio enthusiasts vie for championship titles in sound quality, installation quality, IdBL and Bass Boxing. It’s one of the largest sound competitions in the world, and Knecht usually gets 50-60 West Coast finalists each year. One of their clients is a two-time world champion. In 2015, Sight & Sound Audio Connections was the first West Coast business to host the World Finals.
“It was pretty big,” Knecht said. “It’s great for the community. Everyone around us benefits, especially the Fairway Center with the food and the hotels.”
While the competition is based on loudness, Sight & Sound Audio Connections’ main focus is sound quality, not necessarily the loudest system in the world but something that sounds good to the customer. Most factory stereo systems are decent for talk radio and podcasts, but they don’t give most clients what they really need for music.
“You want a nice audio system, something you can turn up and sound really good, and listen to the music the way the artist intended it to be listened to,” Knecht said.
Price ranges depend on the vehicle and what the customer is looking for, he said. His business recently installed sound systems on a 2020 Toyota RAV4 and a Toyota Tacoma. Newer vehicles don’t typically need a radio swap since the factory radio comes with all the bells and whistles, such as Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, backup camera and so forth. But the sound system, such as the clarity, volume and bass, is usually lacking. Knecht also upgraded a early 70s Chevrolet recently, which needed a full system with radio, speakers and amp.
Sight & Sound Audio Connections seems to please its customers. The company has a 4.9 rating out of five across 49 Google reviews, and Knecht said customer service is his No. 1 priority.
“In a small town like this, although we do get quite a few folks outside the community, we want to help the community,” Knecht said. “That’s with good customer service and being able to help the best we can.”
Word-of-mouth has been their best advertiser, he said, especially in an area like the Twin Cities.
“Like my uncle always used to say, ‘You get one happy customer, they’re going to tell one or two people. You have one bad review with a customer and they’re going to tell 12-25 people,” Knecht said. “It really makes a big difference and that has stuck with me.”
Sight & Sound Audio Connections is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. The lobby is currently closed due to statewide COVID-19 restrictions, so call 360-736-0153 to talk with an employee or schedule an appointment.
Reporter Eric Trent can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit chronline.com/business for more coverage of local businesses.