By Maddy Vitale
From installing a basic TV in a home, to putting an entertainment system in a multimillion-dollar residence, Don Tomlinson and his employees at Gleeson’s in Ocean City have got it covered.
They are top at what they do and have served thousands of customers for decades to prove it.
“We literally can go from one job where we hide the wires in the back of a TV in a $100,000 home to a $5 million home where we put in a home entertainment and automation system. We treat every job with the same care and expertise,” Tomlinson, of Marmora, said Thursday. “We have generations of families who we have been doing business with us. They are loyal, and we are very grateful. We try to be deserving of that.”
Tomlinson and his wife, Patricia, bought the home entertainment business, at 1048 Asbury Ave., in 1996 from the Gleeson family, who started the business in 1962.
The Tomlinsons raised their two children, Vince and Stacey, in the business and Vince liked it so much that he opened Platinum Audio Video Northfield.
“We work hand in hand,” Tomlinson said of he and his son.
High-end 43-inch to 65-inch televisions are on display at the store. Old photos of music and movie stars line one wall, and some retro-pieces, including record players, give the store an eclectic modern-meets-nostalgic feel.
Having a good name in the business is everything. In a world of Big Box stores, the way to stay successful is to be current in trends, ever-changing technology and keeping prices competitive, he said.
Tomlinson stays up to speed on the latest devices in the electronic world, so he could offer the best products to his customers.
“Every day I read information from manufacturers, reviewers of product. I look at blogs and financial publications to see how the businesses are doing,” he said. “If I miss a day, I have to read twice the information every day.”
When it comes to the service Tomlinson and his team provide, it is very customized when they are designing a home entertainment system.
“We offer much more personalized service to give the right product to the customers to fit their needs,” he explained. “We ask a lot of questions to learn about you and make sure your product fits your lifestyle and budget.”
Tomlinson said the best advice he could give a homeowner, especially if he or she has new construction, is to have it wired for not only what they want now, but also in the future. It will cut down on future labor costs.
“We call it the electronic plumbing,” he said. “Without the wiring nothing else works. There are many times when we get referrals from cable companies because they can’t supply the needs.”
For example, if the homeowner rents out their home over the summer and 25 people or so are there on a weekend, that little black box for the cable won’t be good enough, he explained.
Gleeson’s serves a wide area from Brigantine to Cape May.
Customers are updated regularly on new products and services through email blasts and receive a monthly newsletter.
Second homeowners are the main customers, Tomlinson said.
Gleeson’s gives them peace of mind.
“What we can supply for them is to have them connected to their home 24/7,” he said.
The customers love the automated temperature control.
“They are able to control the temperature and get text messages if it doesn’t go to the right temperature, so they don’t have to look at their device all of the time,” he said.
When the blizzard hit this winter and pipes froze at housing in the area, some of Tomlinson’s customers, didn’t have to worry about their pipes freezing because of an automatic shutoff. Safety and energy efficiency is on a lot of homeowner’s minds. The lighting is controlled so it comes on when it is dark and gets turned on at a time when the customer gets up.
Gleeson’s also offers remote controls for door locks and assign codes for say cleaning staff or contractors to use when they enter a customer’s secondary residence.
Some customers with seasonal rentals leave just about everything electronic to Tomlinson and his crew.
“We handle all of the electronics. We make sure all of the TVs and the internet are working. We can reset cable boxes from the phone,” Tomlinson said. “How much we do depend on what the homeowner wants.”
The only thing you need from the cable company is their service. Gleeson’s, which is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and closed on Sunday, has just about all the equipment a customer needs to have a range of connectivity and home entertainment features.
“We have very good reputation because people know they can come to us,” Tomlinson said. “They won’t get cheap stuff. They will get high-end equipment. And if they have a problem and call us, they will get the problem solved.”