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Sondralee Orengia is tuned-in to the right frequency. The audio-visual industry is typically male-dominated, yet Orengia has managed to position herself as a regional expert in her field. She got that reputation the old-fashioned way—she earned it—by keeping up on technology in a speed-of-sound world and by building lasting relationships through trust.

What makes Sondralee Orengia stand out?

I am a woman in a man’s world. I am one of the few women who have established an AV store on my own. Typically, it’s a generational family business, but that is not the case here. I have built Custom Audio from the ground up.

How do you keep your message in front of people?

With the growth of social media, we need to be constantly open to the expansion of ideas. Currently, we promote Custom Audio on Facebook, Twitter, Houzz and Pinterest in an attempt to communicate with current and potential consumers.

How has the sales of electronics on the Internet affected your business?

We are in a time when people often find it easier to purchase online. However, the Internet offers very little service or support solutions. The electronics industry is very complex. It can be very daunting and time-consuming for the average consumer to choose the correct components to meet their needs. That is where we come in. We have the expertise to design custom solutions for every customer. For that reason, our brick and mortar location has continued to flourish.

Would you buy a car without driving it? No way. Our personal service and physical location allow us to give an ‘ear-on’ approach to the products and services we offer—unlike various online vessels. Custom Audio’s superior service offers Erie what the Internet cannot.

You are also a competitive weightlifter. Tell us about that…

I began lifting weights for my health in my mid 30’s at Joe’s Gym. My trainer and coach, Joe Orengia, asked if I wanted to compete at a power lifting meet, and I said sure, why not give it a try. It is much different competing when you are an adult than when you are a teen or young person. I felt very accomplished and powerful after I won my first trophy; it was quite a rush!

That was 16 years ago, and I have earned many titles to my credit, including two World Championship Titles, as well as many State and Local Championships. The truth of the matter is that competing gives me a goal to strive for, which keeps me in the gym. The older I become, the more important I realize that being fit means being healthy. Being healthy means I can be productive, pain free and happy!

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