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About us

Crutchfield is a nationally recognized and award-winning consumer electronics retailer with a reputation for incredible helpfulness and deep knowledge. That's because, since our start in 1974, Bill Crutchfield has focused on one thing: making sure his customers are happy with the gear they get.

When Bill founded the company in the family garage in his hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia, he was really trying to fix a problem he'd experienced as a customer: how do you figure out which aftermarket car stereos and speakers will work in your vehicle? He came to the conclusion that expert information, shared by people who really cared about problem-solving, was the answer. More than 6 million customers later, those principles continue to drive the business.

We've grown to employ over 600 people in our home state of Virginia, built tools like the Outfit My Car tool and our 25,000-vehicle-strong Vehicle Fit Database, and developed technological innovations to let customers audition speakers online and shop with an Advisor steering their web journey. Our Advisors receive weeks of hands-on training before helping customers from our Virginia call centers. Our customers can rely on free lifetime help with technical questions about any gear they buy from us. And it all stems from Bill's continued leadership, and his ongoing belief in detailed, expert information and exceptional customer service.

The results are good for everyone: Crutchfield is proud to the be the only company to win the BizRate Platinum Circle of Excellence award 19 times in a row. Bill Crutchfield was inducted into the CE Hall of Fame for his contributions and leadership. Crutchfield has been honored three times as one of the Best Places to Work in Virginia, by the Best Companies group and Virginia Business magazine.

Great service starts with great people

Watch our video to meet some members of our Crutchfield family here in Virginia.

Life at Crutchfield

We like working here. Here are just a few of the things that make it more than just a job.

Join our team

Local music legend Charlie Pastorfield jams out during our employee awards ceremony

Crutchfield is home to many musicians. Local music legend Charlie Pastorfield jams out during our employee awards ceremony

Surprise gear giveaways are just one of our many employee perks.

Surprise gear giveaways are just one of our many employee perks.

UX Manager, Rachel, tackles her first car installation.

UX Manager, Rachel, tackles her first car installation.

Movie night at our headquarters.

Movie night at our headquarters was a hit with our employees and their families.

History

Bill Crutchfield is born in Charlottesville, Virginia, to Dr. and Mrs. William Crutchfield.

1942

At age nine, Bill builds a radio.

1951
Bill, age 15

Bill builds a 2-way radio for his bicycle.

1953

At age 13, Bill constructs the first stereo sound system in the state. Building on this success, he starts a business building and installing home audio systems in homes around Charlottesville.

1955

After majoring in business at the University of Virginia, Bill graduates from college and becomes an officer in the Air Force, where he served as a commander of a Titan II ICBM crew.

1965

Bill leaves the Air Force and comes home to Charlottesville, where he spends the next three years working for area businesses.

1970
Bill's 1965 Porsche

While restoring classic cars as a hobby-turned-side business, Bill gets the idea for a mail-order car stereo business. The Porsche 356 shown here is the same one that sparked the idea for his business. It remains unfinished at the Crutchfield HQ.

1974
Our first catalog

In September, Bill sends his first catalog and begins receiving orders from customers.

1974

In January, Bill asks his customers for their insights. He uses them to transform his catalog and his business.

1975
The reenvisioned Crutchfield catalog

In April, the reimagined catalog is mailed to customers and business takes off. It may be the first "magalog" in catalog history.

1975
Joel, our first employee

Bill starts hiring employees, including Joel, one of his first full-time employees. Joel is still with Crutchfield today.

1975
TV catalog page

The business expands to include home audio and video and telephones.

1981

When company morale and company sales start flagging, Bill realizes something more is at work than the aftermath of a recession. He crafts the Crutchfield Basic Beliefs in order to clearly define the values on which he has built Crutchfield. Employees respond, and the business takes off again. The Basic Beliefs, today numbering five, are still posted on office walls and people’s desks company-wide.

1983

Our growing library of vehicle fit info hits the digital age: we build a Unix-based install guide for Advisors to use when helping customers.

1985
Vehicle Research Team

We formally create a vehicle research team, tasked with measuring and recording vehicle information so we can ensure a perfect fit.

1992
Mastersheets

Crutchfield begins releasing MasterSheets™, detailed installation instructions for specific makes and models of vehicle, with measurement info and illustrations.

1992
Our first website

The Internet begins to change the world of shopping. Crutchfield launches a modest early website, becoming the first web retailer to sell consumer electronics.

1995
Bizrate Circle of Excellence Award

BizRate.com awards Crutchfield.com the coveted “Circle of Excellence” Platinum award.

2000

Crutchfield Corporation was awarded the Governor's One Virginia Technology Award in recognition of its innovative use of technology to serve Virginia's citizens.

2002
Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame

Bill Crutchfield is voted into the Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame. Other 2007 inductees include visionaries and innovators Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft; Dick Schulze, founder of Best Buy; and the legendary Dr. Amar Bose.

2007

After years of making and hosting how-to videos and product reviews, Crutchfield launches our official YouTube channel, garnering over 100,000 views in the first 6 months.

2008
Bill and the Olympic torch

In May, Bill Crutchfield carries the Beijing Olympic Torch in Hangzhou, China.

2008
our Discovery store

In September, Crutchfield replaces their Charlottesville retail location with a new store boasting a dramatically different format; the “Discovery Store” uses patented technologies to offer virtualized listening experiences for hundreds of speakers, and contains interactive fixtures offering access to multiple photos, customer reviews, deep technical information and more for every product featured.

2013
Crutchfield now carries pro audio

The many Crutchfield employees who are musicians finally get their wish: Crutchfield begins carrying pro audio equipment.

2013
Crutchfield named one of Virginia's Best Places to Work 2018

Crutchfield is named one of the 2018 Best Places to Work in Virginia by Virginia Business magazine and the Best Companies Group. This is the second time Crutchfield has been honored with this award.

2018
Crutchfield wins 19th Bizrate award

Crutchfield has once again earned Bizrate.com's "Circle of Excellence" Platinum Award for performance and customer service. Of the more than 5,000 online retailers in the Bizrate network, Crutchfield is the only one to win this award for 19 years in a row.

2019

Social Media & News

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Crutchfield & the environment

Crutchfield has a long history of taking great care of its customers. Doing our part to take care of the environment is just a logical extension of that dedication.

Energy Use

When Bill built our headquarters building in Charlottesville, VA, he chose a bermed design, which helps protect the building from extreme weather while maintaining more consistent inner temperatures. Inside, a programmed climate control system regulates temperatures according to employee work-cycles, instead of operating at full capacity around the clock. Energy-saving lightbulbs at HQ and in our warehouse and stores save precious watts as well.

Packing peanuts

We no longer use polystyrene packing peanuts as a shipping material.

Instead, we make and use biodegradable, starch-based peanuts that dissolve in water or in a compost pile. Switching to biodegradable peanuts means that the 150 trailer loads of polystyrene peanuts we used to use each year won't go into landfills as dumped plastic. Also, it takes less material to make our new peanuts, meaning we're sparing the atmosphere a bit of diesel exhaust, too.

Our catalogs

The first step is to make sure we're only sending catalogs to people who want them, so we don't waste any paper on unwanted mailings. (If you no longer wish to receive our catalogs, you may opt-out by calling 1.888.955.6000.)

Next, when we're choosing the paper for our catalogs, we try to balance environmentally preferable fibers, which can be heavier to transport, with lighter-weight grades of paper (which require less fuel to transport and therefore reduce environmental impact). Finally, we continue to work with paper suppliers and printers who have solid environmental programs, including sustainable forestry practices.

We hope you find our catalogs useful, and we encourage you to recycle them when you're done with them!