Category Archives: Opinion – Editorial

Golf Simulator Leads to Exceptional Entertainment Retreat for BRAVAS Colorado Client

This exiting entertainment project all started when the client came to BRAVAS in Littleton, Colorado for a golf simulator. This story reminds us that you never know where a job—even a relatively smaller scope job—may lead. Hesitant about smart home automation at first, the client did not want a lot of complicated technology in their home. But as mutual trust and confidence grew, the project also grew into adding Lutron Palladiom for centralized lighting, a full-blown home theater, music in other areas of the home and more. 

Photos by: Jess Blackwell Hohman

New Technology, New Construction.

Mac Saad, with the BRAVAS Colorado branch was the lead designer and technology architect on the project with the backing of BRAVAS Colorado’s extensive Engineering team. BRAVAS has offices and representatives in 15 cities across the US and completes more than 3500 integration projects around the country each year. BRAVAS sells and supports everything from lighting, shades, and A/V to networking, security systems, and power management. They also provide high-quality entertainment furniture from Salamander Designs.

The project at hand was new construction. The BRAVAS team was fortunate that the builder was happy to closely coordinate efforts and work together to ensure optimum outcome for the client. One example of this collaboration, the BRAVAS team was brought in early when they were building the theater.  

Photo by: Jess Blackwell Hohman

“We had a very large Barco Projector going in for video in the theater area of a room,” Mac explained. “This basement room shared both the golf simulator and the home theater. Because we were brought in early, we saw that if the soffit was extended just a small amount, we could put the projector entirely into it so that it’s quiet and always out of sight. We worked together with the builder, and the client was extremely happy about this adjustment.”

Challenges and Covid Didn’t Stop Them.

Most every custom project has some challenges. In this case, the golf simulator was a key component and created some additional work. BRAVAS had to try several layouts, and in the end, were able get this accomplished for the client.

As for many integrators over the past year, COVID-19 was a challenge, too. The BRAVAS team started the project during the pandemic and encountered some natural inventory delays. Fortunately, they were able to source suitable alternative choices. In this case, the client wanted consistent black products and looks such as speakers, wall switches and more. Mac shared, “The original seating was to be a black microfiber. With Covid-related delays, we were able to find a faster—and actually better—solution for this client by working closely with Salamander Designs.”

Photo by: Jess Blackwell Hohma

Challenges and Covid Didn’t Stop Them.

At the time, the black microfiber seating was on backorder, which is uncommon. But Salamander Designs worked with BRAVAS and their client to find similar fabrics and other options that were more readily available. With a curated, very wide assortment of upholstery including 45 seating covers to choose from, the Salamander team went into design and service mode for the dealer and their client. They had to satisfy a client who was very sure about his vision. After sharing more readily available options, the client selected a highly unique, two-tone Salamander Talia Seating that could be secured more quickly and even elevate the room. Mac said, “It was pretty great how Salamander could still provide furniture that was custom built and quickly delivered during this time. Most importantly, they did so with products that worked the best for durability and fit this home theater in the way our client envisioned.”  

“Salamander Designs— and everyone who works there, actually—was very accommodating to us and the client’s requests. Even smaller things, like providing special awesome piping on the seats. Salamander was able to do this for us. Our customer got exactly what they wanted, customized, with special piping and in a great color that would work—even during the Covid crisis.”

Photo by: Jess Blackwell Hohman

BRAVAS is in a class by itself: After-Sale Service.

We went on to find out that this BRAVAS location is really all about providing the best in white glove service and going in after the design and installation. The company sees after-install support as very key to the client and our company because unlike other things such as a floor that is put into a home, the customer must interact with home technology every day and it is integral to convenience in their lives. BRAVAS Colorado views the installation as really the beginning of the relationship, and they make sure customers have ongoing , never-ending satisfaction and that technology is always seamless and easy-to-enjoy for everyone.

Salamander Seating Satisfied Other Client Requirements.

“Our customer loved the ability for everyone to have the same great movie viewing experience,” the Dealer said. “Build-quality was a major part of this project. The client wanted the best quality and when he saw and understood that this was a 1000-pound couch/row seating, they understood this seating was different.”

Another objective, this client wanted either entertainment seating or a couch setup where the kids would not fight over who got which seat during a movie or show. He wanted all seats to be equal so to speak. The Salamander Talia seating included motorization and butt shakers in every single seat so that everyone had the same experience.

Photo by: Jess Blackwell Hohman

The Real Reaction?

BRAVAS saw the seating before the client family did and was a bit uncertain about the two-tone seating choice because the two tones were similar in color. Two-tone is usually the more expensive option, and the BRAVAS team wanted it to be exactly right.

The good news? This client was thrilled and loves the outcome. “The two-tone looks very, very slick!” it was reported. “Best of all, everyone in our family has the premier seat in the house in our new home theater and entertainment space.”

Other Equipment in This Perfect Project.

The overall project included Lutron Palladiom lighting, Control4 for control and several Sony TVs including an 85-inch above the fireplace upstairs. Speakers included James Loudspeakers, a small Sonance aperture system and Kef Speakers in theater/golf simulator space. And yes, there is also a Salamander Designs Media Stand for components in the home theater. “We sell other furniture, but Salamander is my go-to because of how easy it is to customize and how very helpful their team is.”

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Why Congress Must Renew Trade-Promotion Authority

Trade Protection AuthorityThis Op-ed by Salamander Founder/President Sal Carrabba appeared first in the Consumer Electronic Association (CEA) blog.

It’s no coincidence that the House Manufacturing Caucus is one of the largest, most bipartisan groups in Congress. With nearly 100 members, representing districts both rural and urban, the caucus has as its mission helping U.S. manufacturers compete fairly with foreign competitors. Congressional action could further advance important trade deals that would grow U.S. exports and create both jobs and wealth for American workers.

Needless to say, it’s disappointing that Connecticut’s two senators, Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, voted against a measure that would give the Obama administration greater latitude in negotiating trade pacts with other countries. Ultimately, the bill passed in the Senate with bipartisan support. Now, as debate on TPA moves to the House, we, a small Connecticut manufacturer and employer, urge our representatives to follow the lead of Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT), who in early June announced his support for trade-promotion authority.

Trade sustains and supports more than 40 million U.S. jobs. Today, about 95 percent of the world’s population lives outside the United States, and more than 80 percent of the world’s purchasing power resides with consumers abroad – those living beyond our borders. To truly compete and thrive in the 21st century, American business and workers have to succeed in the global marketplace.

The expansion of the global supply chain and growth of the digital economy mean small- and medium-sized businesses in the U.S. now have an opportunity to reach a global audience – provided we have fair and open trade agreements. We need new trade agreements in place that give U.S. companies unfettered access to the global marketplace.

At Salamander Designs, we are continually looking for new opportunities to expand the scope of our business. New technologies are enabling us to reach out to an expansive pool of potential customers and create new partnerships across the globe. We see international growth as a key component of our manufacturing and sales-growth strategy moving forward.

Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH), a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, notes that every $1 billion in exports creates more than 50,000 jobs. Be it on farms or in factories, with products ranging from food and pharmaceuticals to sporting goods and consumer electronics, trade not only creates jobs, but also supports higher wages and drives economic growth.

If we have easier access to new markets, we will be able to expand our business faster, and as a leading AV furniture brand in the U.S., this means that additional U.S. jobs will be created in our Connecticut factory to support more rapid expansion. It also means new opportunities, including jobs, for our network of partner businesses in the U.S.

Underscoring the importance of accessing foreign markets, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker recently noted that U.S. exports to free-market partner countries rose more than 4 percent in 2013 to $765 billion, and U.S. exports to more than 200 countries around the world were valued at $2.3 trillion. But as impressive as those numbers are, U.S. exports could grow even more if Congress can overcome the obstructionists and reauthorize trade-promotion authority (TPA) legislation.

TPA, also known as fast-track negotiating authority, gives the president the power to negotiate international agreements that Congress can vote up or down, but cannot amend. Congress allowed the last such grant of TPA to lapse in 2007 as a result of partisan politics. Since then, more than 100 trade deals have been put into force worldwide. The Obama administration has been seeking TPA’s congressional reauthorization since 2012; for the U.S. to remain a global leader, the time has come for Congress to pass this bipartisan trade effort.

Moreover, the TPA package includes modernized language that reflects the realities of the digital economy and Internet. By clarifying the intention that trade should foster balanced copyright, future trade agreements will now also help ensure a robust growth of the Internet.

We implore Congress, and especially our representatives from Connecticut, to do everything possible to enable and spur more international trade opportunities. Businesses like ours play a major role in our country’s economic engine. While we are relatively modest in size at the moment, we aim to grow much larger; and we can accomplish this through trade. We strive each day to make the American dream of success through hard work a bigger and more impactful reality for our employees, future employees, their families, and business partners – both here and abroad.

A vote on the TPA bill vote is happening tomorrow in the U.S. House of Representatives. This critical job-creating legislation faces a tough battle in the House. Please take action to urge your representative to support free trade and an updated framework that recognizes today’s digital economy.

~ Salvatore Carrabba is founder and president of Salamander Designs, a Bloomfield, Conn.-based maker of highly customizable audio-video furniture for home and office.