Jim Gray Designs
I came to Tallahassee in 1979 and went to work for Stereo Sales (thanks to the Menasco family) part time while working my way through college. Debra and I were married the following year after 7 years of dating and I had the opportunity to move up the street to Auto Audio, who was selling only Car Audio at the time and wanting to get into the Home Audio business. They needed a second, part-time person to help out and an old manager (thanks Tom Turner) recommended me to the owners. The Stereo Store opened in December 1980 and I suppose that’s where my real ‘audio education’ began. Tom was a great musician and what I learned from him, I still apply to this day…
I graduated from Florida State in 1982 in English Literature and a minor in Humanities and took over the management of The Stereo Store after Tom left. My first New Construction Pre-Wire came in 1983 (thanks to Bang & Olufsen and Bob Porter) and my second at 3304 Wildwood Trl. in Killearn Lakes in 1984; where the ShowHome and the Wildwood Days Gallery is today!
In 1988, I left what had become The Entertainment Stores (formerly Auto Audio & The Stereo Store) to start Jim Gray Designs ~ The following year, I became a founding member of CEDIA (Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association) and remain involved in their efforts to this day…
In 1997, partly at Deb’s insistence and partly because it was really time, we moved out of the little house on Wildwood Trl. and I was finally able to convert it into what I had dreamed about ~ my own dedicated space for Home Entertainment. Over the past 22+ years, the ShowHome has become one of the most unique and talked about spaces in my industry. Representatives from all over the state and even the Southeast who have visited the Wildwood ShowHome and now the Wildwood Days Gallery, have told us that it is one of the most comfortable, well-designed and beautiful showcases they have ever seen. We even had a small spot in 2009 on CNN International’s ‘The Finer Things’ program (thanks Ric Blackburn) which may have moved the needle a bit!
In 2011, we added the Wildwood Days Gallery to the ShowHome and you can see some of the wonderful work in the photos of the different rooms. It combines my love of Audio and Art and was inspired by a beautifully executed store in Jacksonville (thanks Bill Gibson and House Of Stereo)
In over 30 years, it has been one of the great privileges of my life to work with what I believe, are the best clients any company could hope to have ~ After more than 3,500 installations and over 900 satisfied (I hope!) clients, it is still a privilege to be a part of their lives. In the last 10 years, I have been helping their children realize their plans and what a thrill to watch these kids grow up from babies; start families of their own and invite me into their lives as their parents did so many years ago… that’s pretty cool!
Thanks again to everyone who has let me live my life my way; who have continued to support my little company and have exceeded my expectations…I hope I’ve exceeded yours.
The Best to the Best ~