April 23, 2012
| by Lisa Montgomery
On any given month at Bekins in Grand Haven, Mich., you can learn how to make a fondue, grill a steak to perfection and spicy California roll. In addition to selling speakers, big-screen TVs, amps, and other A/V goods, the unique downtown establishment runs a full-fledged culinary school out of its 10,000-square-foot storefront. What’s the connection? According to Chef Tom, the cooking school actually generates a lot of business for the A/V part of Bekins. “After they’re done with class, students will often stroll the store and naturally start asking about home theater.”
The demo theater at Bekins features a Da-Lite screen, JBL Synthesis surround-sound system, Sony 4K projector and an AMX control system. It’s a nice theater, yes, and represents the type of quality work Bekins custom integrators do, but one of my favorite spots was the audio demo room. Here, customers can audition various speaker/receiver combinations. A sophisticated switching system—controlled by an AMX touchpanel—allows customers to choose specific equipment to listen to. They can start with an Anthem receiver and in-wall Sonance speakers, for instance, then switch to bookshelf Paradigm speakers to compare the difference. Brilliant!
Back to cooking. In addition to A/V gear, the store showcases a huge assortment of high-end appliances—stoves, washers, dryers, refrigerators and cappuccino machines. Every washer and dryer—and many of the kitchen appliances—are fully operational so customers can see and hear them in action. Good for people who want the quietest washing machine possible.
The company will soon expand to the outdoors, creating an outdoor cooking environment … and yes, it’ll have weatherproof TVs and speakers.
Check out the slideshow for pictures inside Bekins.
Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.