Maryland 3.0: High Fidelity on Main Street with Michael Hoatson

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Michael Hoatson is mildly disappointed,perhaps sad is a better word, that since he opened his high fidelity stereo equipment and record store ten months ago in downtown Chestertown, not a single local customer had made a purchase of the sophisticated audio components he offers at the Listening Room. While this is not the kind of talk that would typically inspire confidence in the future, Hoatson is thrilled to death in his decision to move the family business from Pikesville to Cannon Street in Chestertown. In fact, business has almost doubled since he made the move. Say what?

It turns out the Listening Room relocated from the Western Shore to be closer to its long-term customers who have fled places like Baltimore and Washington and retired to Bethany Beach or the Mid-Shore. Most of these predominantly male clients have no problem making the easy drive to Chestertown for a pleasant lunch with their wives after a morning of testing equipment, rather than crossing the Bay Bridge and beltway traffic.

And part of the fun for Michael is the flow of  Washington College kids coming to the shop to listen to their favorite music on stereo equipment which costs as much as their tuition. Hoatson feels its part of his job to educate people of all ages what genuinely realistic sound can be. And therefore he encourages students, or anyone else, to bring their favorite music into the shop to hear, sense, and feel that those special tunes sound on a $150,000 system.

Needless to say, the Spy was intrigued by all of this, and sat down with Mike for a short chat on a small town retail success story and his, and his customers, ongoing quest for the most realistic sound money can buy.

This video is approximately four minutes in length. For more information about the Listening Room please go here

About Dave Wheelan

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