The new owner of Sight and Sound Services already has mapped out his succession plan, even though he only bought the business a few months ago.
Marty Mielke purchased the longtime DJ and entertainment services business based in Kennewick from Bob Kreider at the beginning of the year.
Kreider, 71, launched Sight and Sound in 1984. It offers a variety of services, DJing for weddings, school dances and other events, photo booth rentals, video production, and film and photo transfer services. It also does video depositions for attorneys.
“I had a passion for it and still do, that’s why it was hard to sell it because it was kind of like giving up one of your children, you know?” Kreider said.
That’s why Mielke, 57, of West Richland, is letting Kreider stay on as long as he’d like.
“He still has a key to the office. He has access to everything he has acquired for his whole life. And I’m not about to take that away from him until he’s ready to walk away,” Mielke said. “It’s his happy place.”
Another fixture at the Kennewick shop is Mielke’s son, Freddy.
The 9-year-old, who attends Wiley Elementary School in West Richland, likely will be ready to take over the business when he’s grown up, judging from his enthusiasm for entertaining an audience – he recently sang a Backstreet Boys song for his school’s talent show.
“He loves video editing, he loves DJing, he just loves music and dance. And he is in third grade now, so by the time I’m ready to retire, he’s going to be old enough, and he’s going to already know how to do this stuff. So the goal is for now to be around for the next 70 or 80 years,” Mielke said.
Mielke hired Kreider for his daughter’s wedding in 2015. The two chatted and Kreider learned Mielke also knew his way around a microphone.
Mielke was a DJ in Yakima for years. Soon after, he began DJing for Kreider. He also opened Marty’s Mobile Music in 2016. But, he said, as the new guy in town, he only got a handful of jobs.
At first, Mielke wasn’t sure he wanted to take on the responsibility of Kreider’s bigger operation, but he saw the potential and wanted to preserve the business’ legacy.
“All these people, wherever we went, we’d walk in, and everybody’d go, ‘Hey Bob.’ Everybody knows him by name. They know him by reputation, and I thought, you know, I’d hate to see that business just fold up and be gone,” Mielke said.
Mielke took out a small loan from HAPO Community Credit Union and tapped into his savings to buy the business. Terms weren’t disclosed but he said the investment has already paid off.
“I’ve actually been the owner now for about three months, and I have actually already recouped my total investment as far as my funds that I put out of my pocket. That’s how busy this business is,” Mielke said.
He wants to turn Sight and Sound into an inclusive shop for weddings. The one service missing from its offerings is photography, which Mielke plans to rectify soon.
“Then it becomes a one-stop shop for all your needs for a wedding, as far as audio-visual goes,” he said.
Kreider, 71, said selling the business allows him to spend more time with his wife and family. He said working as a DJ for weddings and high school dances kept him young.
“I keep up with all the current popular songs and still rock a school dance like I’m a teenager,” he said.
Kreider said the pandemic hurt the business with all the event and venue shutdowns. “I probably had no income for almost 18 months,” but he was able to get a forgivable loan through the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, which he said helped immensely.
Kreider didn’t intend or plan to have such a long career in the entertainment business. He DJed on the weekends while working full time in construction, but after five years, he launched the business full time.
“I just thought it’d be kind of a cool thing and didn’t realize where it would lead me or anything else. And, after I got into it for a few years, why it just seemed to continue to work out well and so consequently, I just never stopped,” Kreider said.
Mielke plans to continue Sight and Sound’s legacy. “This is a business that’s worthy of sticking around for a long time,” he said.
Sight and Sound Services: 6201 W. Clearwater Ave., Suite D, Kennewick; 509-735-8433; videoanddj.com.
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