With its building slated for redevelopment last year, 13 Coins — a Seattle dining institution — closed the doors on its flagship South Lake Union location after 50 years of serving up breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
For the next chapter in its legacy, the 24-hour restaurant set up shop in a new building on King Street in Pioneer Square, within sight of CenturyLink Field and a short walk to T-Mobile Park.
The new 13 Coins features two levels. Upstairs is the main dining area and bar with an adjoining outdoor patio, while the downstairs “Lower Quarters” features another bar and four private dining areas that can be rented out independently or combined into one large space.
The Tech Decision
For owner Al Moscatel, it was important to preserve the vintage charm of the restaurant’s original location, which hadn’t changed much since opening in 1967. For dining on the first floor, that meant keeping 13 Coins’ signature high-back booths, swiveling captain’s chairs, and open kitchen.
With more than 30 special events under its belt cultivating relationships and sales; a YouTube channel with pro-quality videos to fuel marketing; and a second location 1,400 miles away, integrator of the year Wipliance stays very busy.
When Lee Travis, owner of Seattle-area integration firm Wipliance, explains what makes his company special, he mentions not the topnotch technology that’s offered or the high caliber of installations completed — although both are stellar — but rather how his company is constantly changing and evolving to build and expand its business.
In just over a decade the company has developed some serious marketing chops and a bold business strategy — both of which have helped it land many industry accolades, not to mention some impressive sales stats.
Recently honored by the Consumer Technology Association and CE Pro as the 2019 TechHome Mark of Excellence Integrator of the Year, Wipliance recorded annual revenue of $5.6 million from 151 custom installs last year. It is also one of the most eﬃcient systems integration businesses in the industry, producing $230,000 in revenue per employee from a staﬀ of 20.
The 13-year-old company has never been one to rest on its laurels, though. Ever innovative in its marketing approaches and stalwart in its business practices, Wipliance thrives on its willingness and ability to tackle new challenges. It’s a commitment that has created clear-cut diﬀerentiation from the competition and helped build a glowing reputation among customers, vendors and business partners.
Your business was founded in 2006. What is the origin of your business name? What did you do before were you in custom integration? Talk about how you got interested in doing this work – and as you gained experience, what it was that you felt you were able to offer clients that was unique in the field.
Lee Travis: The name stands for “wireless appliance.” Years before I had the company, I felt that in future we’d have so many more wireless devices. And we’re not in the white goods business, but if you take the word “appliances” and drop off the app and put a “wi” there, that’s how you get the name.
I got into the car audio business first. I attend the Consumer Electronics Shows and at my 33rd CES this year, we won the Integrator of the Year Award. I loved car audio, but that industry began to change, and it was becoming a little more homogenized. OEM was developing better systems and cell phones were getting down into the free range – when we used to pay five grand for a cell phone, and the average cell phone bill was $1,500. As the car audio business waned, we started to do some home systems – people would ask us to do theaters, with those big CRT projectors. Eventually, I made a full move over to home and commercial, adding in other things builders wanted us to do, such as the communications and security wiring. They wanted us to cover all of the low-voltage category.
Obot Electric and Obot Energy, appear on your website as corollary businesses for your installation operation. Why did you develop these service offerings? And what are the advantages to being a one-stop shop - providing “end-to-end solutions,” as you say on your web site - for clients, relating to these corollary disciplines?
“Obot” stands for “on budget, on time.” What would happen is, when we’d go to install a home theater for someone, and we’d need power for a projector or for a TV and power for lighting control and shading as well. We would usually sub that work out to electricians, but often, they would prioritize their work over ours. We’d have a Lutron lighting control job set up to do on a Tuesday, and the electrician was supposed to be there and couldn’t show up till Friday. So I wanted to be able to control the whole customer experience, to make sure we could deliver the system [in a timely way] to our clients.
With Internet of Things technology powering a growing number of devices in buildings, real-time updates from cloud-stored data becoming the daily norm, and remote management now at consumer fingertips, the idea of personalized building automation has taken on a life of its own.
“We used to spend the majority of our time installing high-end audio/visual systems, but now we install everything from climate control to lighting, window treatments, security, and more, into living and work spaces,” said Lee Travis, owner of Wipliance LLC.
Travis launched Wipliance in 2006 and operates the Bellevue headquarters location; a second location in Scottsdale, Arizona; and an electrical-contracting company. In total, his combined workforce is now 30 strong.
Today, the company supports residential installs, as well as notable commercial building projects such as the new SPIRE luxury condominium tower in downtown Seattle. Other commercial customers include restaurants and bars, tenant improvement contractors, and companies looking to automate board rooms or other conference spaces.
On April 11th, a series of events atop the Peak Lounge in the Kinects Apartment tower transformed this sky-high venue into an informative neighborhood showcase and a celebration for hundreds of current and prospective homeowners at NEXUS. Presented by Seattle Magazine, the exhibition included The Downtown Seattle Association, LID I-5, NHL Seattle, Waterfront Seattle, the Washington State Convention Center expansion and NEXUS, which stands front and center in the fastest-growing neighborhood on the West Coast.
“Burrard Group hosted an extraordinary event that illuminated how the northern migration of downtown Seattle positions our homebuyers at the nexus of all,” said Matt VanDamm, Vice President of Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty (RSIR). “We certainly share in the excitement for this pivotal development.”
The events kicked off with a broker luncheon and open house followed by a GeekWire podcast presented by the FutureCast Forum on “High-Tech, High-Rise Living”. Moderator Brian Westbrook hosted panelists including urban living specialist Julie McAvoy of RSIR, development strategist Billy Mainguy of Burrard Group, home automation expert, Lee Travis of Wipliance and real estate economist Brian O’Connor of O’Connor Consulting Group. Among the key findings, downtown Seattle is entering a housing cycle of increased homeownership following a record number of apartments being built, largely fueled by a tech-driven economy. Consumers desire a progressive, in-city lifestyle that is optimized by home automation and a sense of community that is activated by exclusive to building apps and thoughtful amenities that encourage owners and friends to converge and connect. Meanwhile, NEXUS was notably referenced as the archetype of such next generation development and remarkably, it is the only residential opportunity offered for individual homeownership in the burgeoning neighborhood.
“We forecast strong job growth and housing demand to continue well into the next decade as Seattle’s tech hub resists any slowdown that may be experienced in the national economic cycle,” said O’Connor. “The challenge however, will be affordability. New developments like NEXUS are experiencing construction hard cost increases of 6-8% per year, which increases the price of supply ahead.”
Bellevue, Wash.-based Wipliance receives 2019 Consumer Technology Association TechHome Division Integrator of the Year Award at CES 2019.
“I have been coming to CES for 33 consecutive years and I was still just as excited to attend the show as I was for the very first time,” said Lee Travis, owner of Wipliance, a Bellevue, Wash.-based custom integration firm as he accepted the Consumer Technology Association’s TechHome Division’s 2018 Integrator of the Year at CES 2019. Travis’ ability to maintain that youthful exuberance for his business and the technology is among the reasons his company was recognized by the CTA.
The CTA Integrator of the Year Award is presented to a custom integration company that has shown proven leadership both inside and outside the industry.
Wipliance is the No. 62 company on the CE Pro 100 with $4.6 million in revenues from 151 custom installs. That equates to $30,464 per install. The company is also one of the most efficient in the industry, producing $230,000 in revenue per employee from its 20 staff persons.
Wipliance offers solutions for audio video and smart automation that are unique to the homeowner and their lifestyle, and easily customizable to add value to the space. The company works with high-end homeowners as well as business owners for retail, restaurants and office spaces.
Based in Bellevue, Wash., Wipliance recently opened a second location in Scottsdale, Arizona. The company is highly engaged in the industry as a member of the CE Pro 100, as well as the Control4 Circle of Excellence for 2018.
Recognizing the finest achievements in custom installation and the best new custom-installation-targeted products and installations the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) in conjunction with CE Pro magazine announced the winners of the 2019 TechHome Mark of Excellence Awards at CES 2019, Las Vegas.
Presented in an evening ceremony at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, the Mark of Excellence Awards recognize groundbreaking residential custom installation projects performed by professional integrators, as well as consumer technology products and services that are primarily targeted at the custom installation channel.
The 168 entries were judged by an independent panel of industry experts. Winners of these prestigious awards receive exposure via the websites and print publications from the Consumer Technology Association and CE Pro.
Lutron Electronics, a lighting and shading control company, recently announced the winners of its annual Excellence Award competition as well as the newest Lutron Hall of Fame inductees. The announcements were made during CEDIA Expo 2018 on Thursday, Sept. 6th, in San Diego, Calif.
Established in 2003, the Lutron Excellence Awards competition “recognizes the world’s best projects that use Lutron light, shade, and temperature controls, Lutron Ivalo fixtures, plus third-party equipment, voice control, and more,” according to the company.
More than 100 of Lutron’s residential system providers have won a total of 160 Excellence Awards since the competition’s beginnings.
BELLEVUE, WA--(Marketwired - Oct 4, 2016) - As part of its 10th Anniversary celebration, Wipliance, one of the nation's leading residential systems integrators, announced its expansion. The new location will begin operations in Scottsdale, AZ and will service the greater Phoenix area. Wipliance was founded in 2006 and specializes in providing technology solutions for your home or business that are simple to use, reliable to own, and give best-in-class performance.
"We're extremely excited to offer our audio, video and automation services to the homeowners and business owners of the greater Scottsdale and Phoenix area," stated Lee Travis, owner of Wipliance, LLC. "We have a great team in place to lead the expansion, and we look forward to being a part of the local community."
This will be the second location for Wipliance, LLC, which currently services clients in Seattle, Bellevue, and surrounding areas. "We saw the need in this market for many of the energy saving solutions that we offer through automation, lighting and shade control, as well as audio, video and networking products," Travis stated. Offering professional turnkey consultation and installation, Wipliance will offer complete solutions to both home and business owners in the area.
About Wipliance, LLC
Wipliance, LLC, headquartered in Bellevue, WA, is a privately held corporation founded in 2006 which specializes in providing solutions for your home or business that are simple to use, reliable to own, and give best-in-class performance. Wipliance specializes in Audio/Video Home Theater, Communications, Integration, Lighting Control, Security and Window Treatments.
February 25, 2014 (Kirkland, WA) – Representatives of Realogics Sotheby’s International Realtyannounced today a retail partnership with Bellevue-based Wipliance to showcase cutting-edge audio/visual technologies within a hybrid real estate showroom, retail art gallery and DeLille Cellarswine bar called Maison DeLille at 15 Lake Street in downtown Kirkland. The showroom will open on March 1, 2014.
“We are excited to partner with Wipliance and offer this high-profile demonstration of their impressive audio-visual systems within our premier retail showroom,” said Dean Jones, Owner of Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty. “Together we are attracting the connoisseurs of life to experience the best of brands all within one dynamic lifestyle destination.”
Wipliance, a leader in custom commercial and home technology systems throughout the Pacific Northwest, installed more than 30,000 linear feet of cabling, seven large LED TV’s, a massive digital billboard with ticker feed, a comprehensive audio distribution system and state-of-the-art control systems and security. The overall facility comprises approximately 3,200 sq. ft. and is designed to host larger events and make use of the flexible digital platform.
“This showroom is a tremendous opportunity for Wipliance to demonstrate how technology can be seamlessly integrated with architecture and yet provides a multitude of functionalities,” said Lee Travis, Owner of Wipliance and OBOT Electric, an affiliated full-service electrical contractor. “We appreciate this retail window in the heart of downtown Kirkland and we look forward to supporting the numerous events and promotions that will take place in this one-of-a-kind venue.”