A Few Words About the Owner
The City of Chicago, an ad for a truck driver, George Lucas, and a GTI hatchback—these were all signposts on the path leading to the founding of Michaels Audio & Video, originally in Fraser, now in Winter Park, Colorado.
"The icing on the cake," he says, "was when they took WGN Chicago off the local cable system and I couldn't watch Cubs games any more. I immediately became one of the first DirecTV dealers in the country who could still watch the Cubs!"
Michael's experience goes back many decades. Born in Chicago, he never really lived there until 1983. As the ink dried on his two art degrees, he headed to the Windy City, home of his beloved Cubs, where he answered an ad for a truck driver for one of the top high-end audio-video stores in the United States.
"The company owner must’ve seen something in me," says Michael, explaining how, instead of driving a truck, his extensive background in audio and video technology began. He installed equipment for discriminating homeowners in Chicago’s most prominent neighborhoods. "I’ve installed equipment for some very famous Chicagoans—people you’ve heard of!"
When Michael was ready to move on to his next life adventure, he gave notice to the company—but, again, the owner had insight, and offered him the opportunity to move into sales. In the next seven years, Michael became one of the most respected audio-video salesman in the country. He attributes this to his experience with this company, where he was taught by the owner: to focus on customer needs instead of moving as much product as possible, and to provide the highest level of service after the sale.
"At that time, this was a unique approach in the electronics industry," Michael says. "Today, I follow the same principles in operating my own business."
Michael's claim to expertise is not just words. In fact, along with nine other AV experts from around the country, he was flown to California to act in an advisory capacity to LucasFilm, a company owned by George Lucas of Star Wars fame. There, Michael's expertise helped set the standard for today’s home-based equipment.
"None of the home audio equipment at that time could really capture the sound of a film," Michael explains. "With LucasFilm, we went to the mat and addressed every single aspect of creating Surround Sound for the home. We started a standard. I guess you could say, for example, that your Yamaha receiver has a little bit of me in it."
Shortly after his California experience, a friend introduced Michael to the Grand County area, and Michael knew that he wanted to make it his home. Soon after moving there and making new friends, he found that there was a demand for his audio-video expertise, especially among builders. In this way, Michaels Audio & Video was born.
Operating at first out of his GTI hatchback, Michael pre-wired new homes and installed TVs, stereos, satellites, and home theaters.
Today, Michael Schurer's respected business is based in Winter Park, Colorado. He lives nearby, and drives around town listening to Cubs games live on XM Radio. "And now," he says, "my technicians drive around installing things I couldn't even have dreamed of all those years ago!"