I wanted to add a stereo to an old Porsche I was restoring, but I couldn't find a local retailer or a mail order company to provide one. I thought there must be other automobile enthusiasts facing the same problem, so I decided to create my own mail order car stereo business.
At first it was a one-man, home-based operation. I wrote and designed the catalog, stocked my basement with merchandise, shipped the orders, paid the bills and answered the phone – all the while holding down another full-time job. I almost didn't make it through the first year.
The first Crutchfield catalog was assembled by Bill Crutchfield in his mother's dining room. Today, more than 6 million people receive this award-winning publication.
They told me they needed more information, so I made room in the catalog for a detailed story about car stereos and installation techniques. With this solution, I may have invented what the mail order industry now calls the magalog—a cross between a magazine and a catalog.
With that, the business took off, and a few years later, we expanded our offering to include home audio and video gear. We approached each new product category with the same emphasis on providing helpful information and the same fanatical commitment to customer relationships. As the business grew, I did something even more important. I created a powerful organizational culture that truly honors our employees, customers and business partners.
Crutchfield has grown tremendously since those early days. But, we haven't forgotten what made us successful.
- Bill Crutchfield, Founder and CEO