By Joseph Ditzler • The Bulletin

What: Tractor Tunes Offroad Audio

What it does: Makes customized housing and mounting kits for audio and other electronic systems

Pictured: Antone Santos, company founder and president

Where: 2618 SW Fourth St., Redmond

Employees: 12

Phone: 877-923-8884

Website: tractortunes.com

REDMOND — The name tells the story: Tractor Tunes Offroad Audio.

Company founder Antone Santos recalls how, while installing a sprinkler system in a pasture at home about 10 years ago, the idea occurred to him to install a sound system on his tractor, for convenience.

“I got tired of bringing the truck around for music,” he said. “Pretty basic, you know.”

Friends noticed and commented that they could use something similar on their tractors, off-road vehicles, utility vehicles and pickup trucks.

“No matter where I dug, I could not find anything like it on the market,” he said.

Today, Tractor Tunes is more than sound systems for tractors. From its beginning in a 6,000-square-foot manufacturing facility, Santos has expanded the company, adding a global distribution network that makes and sells housing systems and mounting kits for electronics systems — not just sound systems. Along the way, Santos also created a separate line of light bars and work lights through a sister company, Extreme Lighting Products.

Santos said Tractor Tunes has $2 million to $3 million in sales each year and is ready to move beyond its rambling 16,000-square-foot space at the Redmond Airport industrial park. Pretty good for a company that started without a concrete business plan and no lending from any banks, Santos said.

“They turned me down. And that was kind of the all-in point,” he said. “It was my decision to either take their advice, which was don’t do what I’m doing, or follow my gut, my instinct, and get after this thing.”

Success, he said, is built on the dealer networks he’s created in the intervening years. Anyone can open a business installing stereos, even customize the installation package, he said. Few have thought to design and build a durable system designed for the job site and the hunting camp and then market it through dealers around the country.

Tractor Tunes products are available through thousands of dealers that sell John Deere, Polaris, Kubota, Bobcat and similar equipment from Alaska to Florida and beyond, and through the outdoor sporting goods chain Cabela’s.

Santos said he’s outfitted entire fleets for trucking companies, installed GPS devices for mining companies and customized audio systems for a NASCAR driver and a country music singer. He said keeping up with new forms of electronics and their changing applications is one way the company grows.

Santos said innovation is part of the story. He said the company is incorporating 3-D scanning into its design and manufacturing process. The scanners create models to millimeter specifications that are then used to create products by vacuum forming.

“That technology is a sling-shot,” Santos said, “as far as getting us to where we need to be.”

— Reporter: 541-617-7815, jditzler@bendbulletin.com

Q: What separates your product from the conventional automobile stereo installations most people are familiar with?

A: Antone Santos: It’s built tractor tough, is kind of the slogan for it. It’s marine grade; it’s meant to be abused, you know. Typically the rigs that these are going on are workhorses; they’re meant for going out and having fun. Basically, we have done some odd things. We upgrade anything from horse trailers all the way up to high-end motor coaches.

Q: What are some of the more unusual applications you’ve made sound systems for?

A: The one that stands out as the oddest application that we’d ever heard of … is a lady, we sold her a stereo, and because it was marine grade, it was able to be in the elements. She actually built pottery, and we sold her a stereo for her pottery room. It was so contaminated and such a harsh environment. I thought that was very odd.

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