Opened as Elite Audio Solutions in 2007, owner and founder Sam Teeters has tweaked and expanded his original business model so much, his greatest challenge, perhaps, is explaining everything his multiple companies do.
“Everybody says, ‘What do you do at EAS?’ Well, we build custom cars. Well, we build custom marketing materials. We’ll do whatever. We’re a solutions company,” he said.
Now operating as Elite Creative Consortium on Cimarron Street (his fourth location) Teeters has started three companies from scratch, acquired a couple others — and the only thing not in his plans is slowing down.
Teeters followed an Intel engineering technician job from Phoenix to Colorado Springs in 2005. One year later, the job went away, along with the company’s local presence, and Teeters had some decisions to make.
“I asked myself what I wanted to do,” he said. “I liked audio, electronics and fabrication, so I started a car audio shop.”
Elite Audio Solutions opened near Cascade Avenue and Fillmore Street.
“We did appointments only and one car at a time. I wouldn’t even sell the product. I just put it in — better than everybody else, in theory.”
After about two years, the company moved to the south end of town in an effort to expand. Teeters also brought on a couple employees.
“We were still installing audio, but we also started selling at that point,” he said. “We moved, had more space, amped up our fabrication and started doing metal fabrication. That’s when we acquired a clear bra company.”
A friend owned the company, but didn’t want to run the business anymore, Teeters said.
“We told them to move in here, so they came here and did clear bra,” he said, adding they started as co-tenants.
“We were really in a ramping-up stage, not slowing down. This created some conflict in how we handled clients, so we acquired them as a company and took over management and billing.
“We slowly became this shop where people said, ‘You did that, so can you do this? Like tint my car?’
“We didn’t do tint, so we’d subcontract companies to do it. But the work wouldn’t be up to our standards, so we started in-house window tinting.”
Teeters said one customer wanted to have his vehicle wrapped in a different color. The crew subcontracted workers from Denver to do the job.
“That was a pivotal point for the company,” he said. “Wraps were pretty new, especially color-change wraps. It went badly and the customer wasn’t happy.
“But [the wrap company] left a roll of vinyl behind. So we figured we could wrap a car,” he said.
When EAS began wrapping vehicles, it dawned on Teeters that the clear bra company brought with it an industrial printer.
“We started printing. That changed everything,” he said. “We were already doing wraps, now we’re doing printing. If we’re printing and wrapping, why not sell advertising car wraps?”
More to come
The foray into marketing services meant adding to the business model, and that’s when EAS became about more than just vehicles.
The company now employs three graphic designers and, according to Teeters, can take a brand from inception to execution, all under one roof.
“For instance, we would take a customer service approach to wrapping,” he said. “A lot of sign companies are order takers. We’re the exact opposite of that. … If you come to us with an idea, we’ll try and figure out how to get it done for you. We really started pushing customer service, not print.”
The consortium now includes a screen-printing company, a company that creates marketing materials, a fabrication tool manufacturer and its car customization and audio companies.
And just months ago, Teeters began Desk Co., a company that will create custom desks and is expected to begin sales this year.
“The idea is, we’ll create desks as whimsical as you are,” he said. “They’ll have adjustable bases and they’ll be 100 percent customizable.”
That includes taking the consortium’s sign-producing capabilities and using it to create desks adorned with custom images.
“We’ve made it interactive where the consumer can go on our website, build a desk virtually, and we’ll ship it to you with your art and your specifications,” he said.
Teeters said there will likely be more companies created through the consortium because of its range of capabilities.
“We now have design and print in-house, which is different from a lot of print companies, where they have you send over the art,” he said. “Here, we create the art. We do the design, print and production. It’s weird.
“You can control your brand from idea to execution and across most marketing avenues. We have a lot of capabilities others don’t have because it’s all in-house.
“What if you could go to one place and get your brand? If you want help trademarking your logos, we can help with that. … We can build your logo and literally help you start from scratch and put it in a store before you’ve had to invest much of anything.”