Partnerships: Working with Sasha Bruce Youthwork and SBK Architecture

Bethesda Systems has been able to continue to offer its expertise in residential and commercial integration with its collaboration with SBK Partnership.

SBK Partnership, LLC is a small boutique architectural firm newly located in Bethesda, MD. John Stovall, Robert Black, and Alexis Krug formed the partnership in order to continue the more than 40 years of prior architectural practice in the metropolitan Washington area. In that time, they have been responsible for the design of both new and renovated residential, multi-family residential, commercial, institutional and transportation facilities. For more information on their projects, visit their website at

Recently, SBK has been partnering up with Bethesda Systems to offer support on design aspects of their integration projects. SBK has assisted Bethesda Systems in theater design, sight lines, room shape, acoustics, sound isolation, furniture placement, direct and indirect lighting, raised ceilings, and other architectural treatments.

Bethesda Systems has assisted with SBK projects as well.

Residential Home Theater with assistance from SBK Partnership


Drawing by SBK Partnership

In December 2011, Bethesda Systems teamed up with SBK in order to provide media upgrades to the Sasha Bruce Youthwork’s recent building acquisition.

Sasha Bruce Youthwork is a youth service provider in Washington, D.C. Their mission is to improve the lives of runaway, homeless, abused, and neglected and at-risk youth and their families throughout the Washington area.

While SBK worked on the design, repair, and renovation of SBY’s building on 5032 D Street SE, Bethesda Systems was happy to lend a hand to assemble the wiring for two wall-mounted monitors in the house.

Stovall and his partners look forward to continuing a relationship with Bethesda Systems.

“Our relationship is still evolving,” said Stovall. “We’re very interested in collaborating with Bethesda Systems in order to integrate media room and multi-purpose room design into our projects as well.”

(L to R) Larry Fullerton of Sasha Bruce Youthwork; Ariel, Chris and Lynn of Bethesda Systems

There Goes the Neighborhood: Myer-Emco Closes Its Doors

By Jonathan Stovall

I was deeply saddened when I first heard the announcement that Myer-Emco was closing. For over 50 years, the Myer family provided the DC metro area with the finest audio/video products and services available in a retail setting.  The chain expanded over the years and became widely known as the premier storefront to seek high quality consumer electronics, expert sales advice and top-notch custom installation and service. For decades, my partners at Bethesda Systems, my family and my friends, have all been loyal customers.

Enter, the Internet (and those blue shirts)
As you probably can imagine, my partners and I were left scratching our heads at this news. How was it that such a successful, long-standing, family-owned business, run by experts in their field, could suddenly shut its doors? I certainly can’t put them in the same league as Circuit City and Tweeter (remember them?) because Myer-Emco was so much more. Was it the advent of Best Buy, Costco and Amazon that put the last nails into the Myer-Emco coffin? With absolutely no customized service, no follow up service, no expertise of integrated systems, these discount outlets continued to grow.
Perhaps the answer isn’t quite that clear but these venues certainly helped dilute the relativity and value of each of the smaller retailers (RIP all but one Graffiti store too). The sad thing is that Myer-Emco wasn’t higher priced, as the perception might have been. They were simply out-marketed by the big-box stores and web giants, so the majority of local consumers lost sight of the value the specialty store offered. Perhaps the younger consumers were drawn to the convenience of one-stop-shopping where they could also purchase video games, software, PC’s and mobile devices. All the while relying on online reviews and knowledge from sales associates that quite possibly could have been flipping burgers the week before. It’s sad but true—it’s what we are all currently left with on the ‘custom’ retail front.

A New Era of Service
There now exists a huge hole in our marketplace for not only quality A/V goods, but more importantly, expert sales and custom installation services. In the last 5 weeks alone, Bethesda Systems has consulted with close to one hundred ex-Myer Emco clients, from Maryland, DC and Virginia, who are “thankful to have found [us]!”.  As an authorized dealer of many of the products sold by Myer-Emco (and many more), we are able to continue to provide the personalized service that is still expected by many of you.  Bethesda Systems provides ongoing support to our clients, not just one shot installations.  We have weathered the storm of a troubled economy keeping the highest standards of quality customer service intact.  In addition to A/V we also run a full service Electrical Division…so please keep us in mind for all of your lighting and power needs as well!  Our design center in downtown Bethesda, managed by its owners and staff of seasoned experts, is open to all every day, by appointment, so please call so we can discuss working solutions for all of your A/V, Electrical and Integrated Control System needs!