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Entrepreneurs

Growing Firm Makes Electronic Connections

By Kyle Hanlin, posted Jul 17, 2020
INTERNET-RELATED | CONNECTED HOME INC. CHRIS HUDSON, OWNER & PRESIDENT | YEAR FOUNDED: 2010 | EMPLOYEES: 10 (Photo by Michael Cline Spencer)
So, you want a 70-inch TV streaming the latest content with theater-quality sound, music should be able to play in every room and the lights turn on when you disarm your security system and off when you leave the house. And everything should work by speaking into the air.
 
And NO WIRES. No one wants to see wires.
 
Weekend warrior, in the interest of domestic tranquility, please step aside. Let’s let the pros handle this.
 
Enter Chris Hudson and his team at Connected Home Inc., specialists in home automation equipment and installation.
 
“I’ve always been a tinkerer,” said Hudson. “When I was a kid, I liked to take things apart and put them back together, and I’ve always liked sound. I’m a musician, so I like the audio side of things.
 
“I went to UNCW, so when I moved here for college, I got a job working at Circuit City. I started out in the movie section but quickly moved over to the home audio section. I spent two years there and then went to work for a company doing custom installs. I worked there for five years and then decided to do it on my own.”
 
After two years with sole proprietorship, Hudson incorporated in December 2010, when the workload and client base demanded that he hire an employee. Soon followed a storefront at Leland’s Village Shoppes at Waterford, as well as a 5,000-square-foot warehouse for the company’s inventory and offices.
 
The business has been growing steadily in the past decade and now boasts 10 employees, including five CEDIA-certified technicians. CEDIA (pronounced SEE-dee-yah) is the Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association that sets the standard for professionalism in the industry.
 
“CEDIA is the closest thing we have to a governing body, and they certify that people do things the right way,” Hudson said. “So I decided to make sure all of our techs are CEDIA certified. When we hire them, we put them through the training courses so they can take the exams and pass the courses. Then we base our technician levels off of the CEDIA certifications as they move up the ranks. They have to have certain certifications to move up.”
 
Hudson works with a wide range of clients, both commercial and residential, but finds much of his client base in new-build custom homes.
 
“When it comes to quality around the house, I lean toward as simple as possible,” Hudson said. “Still have good-quality equipment and good-quality sound, but ease of operation has to be forefront. Most of our customers are retirees moving down here, so most are of that age that they just want it as simple as it can be.”
 
And while many businesses have been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic and had to lay off employees, the opposite has been true for Connected Home Inc. Hudson is looking for new employees.
 
“We’ve actually been slammed,” Hudson said. “I guess everybody’s stuck at home now, so everybody’s looking to upgrade their stuff. We’ve been pretty busy.”

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