Several years ago, a few days before Easter, an administrator of a local church called Cory's Audio Visual Services in a panic. The church's new sound system wasn't working, and the company that sold it to the church wasn't answering the phone.
Within four hours that afternoon, Cory's technicians had the system up and running, and the church since has been a loyal customer.
It's the kind of story in which Cory Chief Executive Brad Poarch revels.
“Our company very much is relationship-based,” Poarch said. “We stand behind what we do and, if there's a problem, we're there.”
Cory's leases projectors, screens, lighting and other AV equipment to churches; schools, including the University of Central Oklahoma and Oklahoma City University; and other businesses and organizations hosting commencements, conferences and events.
But equipment rental is only half its business. Fifty percent of the company's revenues are from selling, installing and training on AV equipment, from $3,000 to half-million-dollar systems, for Devon Energy, Continental Resources, OGE Energy Corp. and others.
Said Chief Operating Officer John Cory, who custom designs corporate systems, “As equipment becomes cheaper and cheaper, many would rather buy than rent it three or five times a year.”
Poarch, 34, and Cory, 33, are cousins who bought the business in February of last year. Their grandfather, the late Joseph F. Cory, in 1953 founded the firm that was carried on by his son and John Cory's father, Joseph A. Cory.
Originally located at NW 6 and Robinson, the company once supplied projectors, along with news reels and cartoons, to area movie houses and 16-millimeter educational films, like one from Colgate Toothpaste on how to brush your teeth, to Oklahoma City schools.
Poarch, a UCO business management and technical theater graduate, and Cory, an electrical engineering graduate from the University of Oklahoma, started working there when they were 8 and 7, sweeping, sorting screws and doing other odd jobs. Both worked part-time through high school and college, helping set up and install systems.
Today, the firm has $2 million in rental equipment assets alone. But the new owners said they take their greatest pride in their employees.
“Our competitors basically use the same equipment with different names,” Poarch said. “But we strongly believe we have the best people in the market.”