Mark Stoddard couldn't wait until the end of his tour in Afghanistan to start his new business, so the first Lava Cables were actually sold to his fellow soldiers.
Now retired from the Army, Stoddard is working on growing the business.
“It always has been my intent to grow and become a household brand in the music industry,” Stoddard said.
A guitarist himself, Stoddard designs and manufactures his own line of music cables as well as selling other brands. He said his business carries a “good, better, best” product selection and a wide selection of length and color.
All Lava-branded products are made entirely in the United States — a nod to his veteran status, Stoddard said.
“It's who we are as a company,” he said.
Stoddard joined the Army at age 19 and served 28 years' active duty, retiring as a major. While preparing for retirement, he said he recognized he could probably get a defense industry job paying six figures, but he saw the potential in his business venture and wanted to pursue it full time.
His hard work, he said, is beginning to pay off. Lava Cables was quoted in this month's issue of Premier Guitar magazine and the company has between 200 to 400 dealers ordering regularly. Ampy Shanty in Norman is a customer, as are Tulsa's The Music Store and Tulsa Band. International business is expanding (picking up distributors in France and China) and overall business is outgrowing the 2,000-square-foot facility.
Stoddard said his goals in the next couple of years are to build a new facility, double or triple the company's revenue and continue to innovate.
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About the company
• Founder: Mark Stoddard
• Address: 208 E 5 Ave. in Owasso
• Employees: 10
• Founded: 2004, became an LLC in 2011
• Main product: Audio cables (for guitar, speaker,