“Anything you can think of that’s fun in a house, that’s what we do.”
That’s how Bryan Brooks describes the services offered by his family’s business, Traffic Jams.
The Kennewick-based shop is locally owned and offers more than car audio, including security systems, cameras, central vacuums, network connections and home theater or audio setups.
“We make life simple and make people happy,” Brooks said.
The company has been around since the late 1980s, having been purchased by Ron Brooks, Bryan’s father, who still owns it to this day.
Located at 525 N. Edison St., Suite 102, Traffic Jams is still a family affair, with Bryan and his brother, Brandon, helping run the show.
The Brooks family head up a team of 17 who can outfit a home while it’s still being built, or trim out a home, adding the “fun” long after it’s been constructed.
“If we do it at the beginning for a custom home, it’s getting all the low-voltage wires in the walls at the correct locations, with the customer making sure everything is right where they want it,” Bryan said. “Whether it is networks or TV locations or security cameras, we make sure everything is set when they move in.”
For spec (speculative) homes designed by builders, the project is generally smaller.
“Once the homeowner takes possession and moves in their furniture, we come in with the speakers, put in networking gear; all the stuff we prepped for, and get it into the house so it’s ready to go,” Bryan said.
This may include automation, which could allow a homeowner to have the lights and volume programmed to specified settings with just the press of a button, “letting someone come home and immediately unwind for the day.”
The cost varies widely based on what a consumer is seeking, with basic wiring costing around $2,000, a home theater setup about $5,000, and then the more elaborate systems with full automation running north of $10,000.
“A recent job like that included 15 zones of audio, landscape audio, 16 cameras, a full security system and networking,” Bryan said.
On average, retrofitting a home costs about three times as much as it would to install the wires when it’s still being built.
The Kennewick company is coming off a record year for sales, partly due to the boom in new construction.
“I think our community really wanted to invest in their own property, whether it be cars or homes,” Bryan said. “We did a lot more whole house automation systems, along with simple ones like hanging a TV. I think people realized, ‘I have this TV on a stand on a dresser and I don’t want to see the wires. Let’s have Traffic Jams come out, hide the wires, make it look clean, and make it look like it’s a better home.’”
Traffic Jams doesn’t just specialize in the entertainment side of wiring, as wireless internet access is now a necessity for many, especially in an age of remote work.
“We can do access points throughout homes, including a lot of them in the ceiling, to make sure you have good Wi-Fi everywhere in the house, and it’s set up with a strong infrastructure and better dissipation of your signal,” Bryan said.
While there’s wide access to consumer-grade products and online instructions for quick installation, he said there’s still an advantage to hiring a professional.
“Buying a system from us gives you the assurance you’re buying a better-quality brand from companies that have been around for a long time. They tend to be innovators for the industry, seeing what other people are doing and perfecting it,” he said.
Traffic Jams’ goal is also to make the system look clean, so it isn’t seen at all, giving the appearance it was meant to be there.
The business is named for car audio and the service remains a strong part of the work done at Traffic Jams.
Cars can come out of the factory without the rich sound once standard.
“I have a lot of customers who change out everything in their car because it just doesn’t sound like it used to, or they add infotainment, amplifiers or subwoofers,” Bryan said.
The company also outfits boats, jet skis, ATVs and UTVs.
“We get custom brackets so you’re not sacrificing sound quality for fun time,” he said. “We like to say we’re wired for life, so whatever comes your way, you’re ready to go.”
Traffic Jams: 525 N. Edison St., Suite 102, Kennewick; 509-783-7988; tjams.com. Hours: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday.
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