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Meet Thomas Burns of Hookup Solutions in Logan Square

Today we’d like to introduce you to Thomas Burns.

Thomas, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I first knew I was interested in A/V technology in high school, when I had a job at a gas station and with my savings bought a nice pair of speakers. I loved listening to music with the better sound quality. From there, continued my interest in A/V technology by becoming a delivery driver and then a salesman at an electronics store. I got familiar with the technology in a hands-on way. At times, to close a deal, I’d offer to come to the customer’s house and hookup their stereo for them.

People would sometimes call the store to get their existing equipment hooked up, which wasn’t a service that the store would typically provide – so when those calls came in, the other salespeople would give the callers my name and number. To me, setting up the technology was exciting and fun. I liked making people happy by setting up their systems perfectly and helping them enjoy music. As technologies progressed, it was great to keep up with the new technology, to keep making people happy with new ways to listen to music and enjoy entertainment.

Around that time, I almost went into another career path, but I kept doing side jobs hooking up people’s A/V systems. At some point I was talking to a client about looking for a new career path, and he said “This (A/V tech) is your real career.”

At that time I knew he was right, and Hookup Solutions was born (2001). One of my first big jobs was in New Orleans. I’d met the customer in the store I’d previously worked at in Chicago, and as we were chatting I’d made an offhand comment that I’d heard New Orleans was cool, and if he ever needed someone to hookup his system, I’d do it. He took me up on it, so I rented a car and drove from Chicago to New Orleans to do the job.

Today, Hookup Solutions has grown and serves more than home audio needs – we also specialize in home automation, lighting, home theaters, and motorized shades. I remember when the first iPads came out, I knew it was going to revolutionize home technology – I said, “The iPad is going to do for automation what the iPod did for music.” It was true; home entertainment and automation today is so accessible, and can really upgrade quality of life at home.

It’s important to me to know these technologies inside and out. I’m self-taught, and have been designing and installing A/V tech hands-on for more than a decade. The technologies are always evolving, but the thing that stays the same is the motivation and integrity behind our work: making customers happy and helping them enjoy technology in new and better ways.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I could see the housing market start to become unstable in 2007, and in that economic climate my business was starting to slow down. But around that same time, we landed our biggest job to date. We are thankful for our great community and wonderful clientele, and their word-of-mouth recommendations.

Hookup Solutions – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
We’re known for specializing in all home technologies, from home theaters and sound systems to lighting control and Wi-Fi networking. But one area we’re especially excited about is our motorized window treatments. Being in the city, a lot of our clients are paying for the beautiful city views. We love helping them get rid of dated, heavy shades that obscure the views, and installing gorgeous custom window treatments that they can control at home or remotely on their smartphone or other favorite device.

What sets us apart is that we “err on the side of design.” We truly care about the aesthetics of our clients’ homes, and we do everything possible to make sure our home technologies fit in seamlessly. We love working with interior designers and real estate agents, recommending tech solutions that marry design and function.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
The client’s happiness is how we measure our success.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Photos taken by Rodney Niewinski of Hookup Solutions

Getting in touch: VoyageChicago is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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