Strawberry Sound

Surrounded by Strawberry Sound forever

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    Mike Pearce, managing director of Strawberry Sound.

Strawberry Sound is an audio visual (A/V) and lighting business, responsible for outfitting the likes of shopping malls, supermarkets, town halls, stadiums and high-end homes.

If there is a big event on in Dunedin, the chances are Strawberry Sound will almost certainly be involved.

Events such as corporate boxing’s Southern Showdown and ID Dunedin Fashion Week – an iconic fashion show held annually at the Dunedin Railway Station – are lit and sound-tracked by Strawberry Sound.

Managing director and owner, Mike Pearce says, “We do hundreds of events each year and will often have 10 to 12 things on at any one time. These are time-intensive and require a lot of planning and logistics but it is creative and satisfying work.”

The business has grown substantially from humble beginnings as a recording studio and hire business to become one of New Zealand’s premier sound and lighting companies.

Besides its core business of A/V contracting, Strawberry Sound also has retail outlets in Dunedin, Queenstown, Christchurch, Nelson, and Wellington and employs 64 staff.

Strawberry Sound is proud to say it is one of the few companies in the South Island with sound technicians, trained A/V technicians, and experienced sales staff all working under one roof. This gives them the advantage of having a broad knowledge base with a team that works for a common goal of delivering the best available hardware and service.

Six years ago Mike also bought an established Christchurch business, The Top Hi Fi shop, which specialises in high quality stereo, home cinema and multi room functions.

“I started Strawberry Sound in 1984 and haven’t had a life since,” he says jokingly. However, like all good managers, he makes sure he has down time.

He says his role is much like that of “conductor of the orchestra” but adds, “I am good at delegating and I’m as hands-on, as I need to be or as hands-off too. I do have fantastic staff and I believe you are only ever as good as your staff.”

Mike was originally an electrical contractor and in his spare time played in bands. “This business is literally a fusion of those two things,” he says.

He describes himself as a “Beatle’s nut”. Even his car number plate says ‘Beatles’ and his favourite Beatles song is ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’, hence, of course, his business name.

Mike makes a commitment to giving back to his community. “Sponsorship is a very big part of what we are about; we allocate $100,000 of funds annually and that gets spread around. For example, we are a sponsor of the Southern Steel and The Highlanders, and a contributor to the Cancer Society and the Cancer Ball.”

Director, Barry O’Donnell is Mike’s advisor at Markham’s Clarke Craw in Dunedin. Mike also deals with accountant, Charles Craw.

“I get what I consider to be extremely good advice on anything. And what I find most useful is their fantastic turnaround time. If I ask for anything to be done, it happens virtually the same day. I am extremely happy with the level of service I receive from them.

“Markhams Clarke Craw is more than just accountants; they are business advisors too. With a business like mine that is acquiring, selling and ever-evolving, I touch base with them regularly. If I am unsure about anything I will pick up the phone and ask Barry or Charles; they are always very quick to respond.

“I am also a director of the Robbie Burns Pub in Dunedin, so I use Markhams Clarke Craw to look after those books too.”

And in the spirit of Strawberry Sound’s origins, Mike still makes time to enjoy his own his music, playing guitar with other musicians as the mood takes him.

Published Summer 2014.

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