Gemini next went straight to Nelly’s first arena tour and continued to work regularly with a variety of R&B/urban artists for several years.
In that time, the family business has grown exponentially, becoming one of the largest production companies in the Southwest U.S. and offering comprehensive lighting, video, staging and of course, audio. There’s also a systems design/install division.
While Cain’s focus is audio, he sells clients on Gemini’s full production services. Right now, the audio department is smaller than the lighting side, but it’s growing fast.
“It’s been a very good year,” he notes. “We’ve bought a lot of d&b audiotechnik gear – one of the best purchases we’ve made.” Another staple of the loudspeaker inventory is EAW, including the 760/761, the newer KF740 line array, and SB Series subwoofers. Powersoft K Series amplifiers have been transitioned in over the past two years as well.
Over the past 18 months the company has eliminated its analog audio consoles, going all-digital – Midas, DiGiCo, Soundcraft, Yamaha and Avid.
“We also stripped out a lot of old PA boxes, but doubled our audio inventory and spent a heck of a lot of money. But what’s new in this business?” Cain adds with a chuckle. He does so easily and often when talking about Gemini. Clearly, he’s delighted with his job, his partners and his life.
Knocking Down Walls
Then again, he has every reason to be. Starting out in an 800-square-foot warehouse with a couple of offices, by the mid-80s Gemini it currently calls home, occupying about 7,000 square feet. At the time, the brothers thought the new facility was a palace compared to their old digs, but soon found they needed even more space.
“So we knocked down a wall and went to 25,000-square-feet,” he says. “You could actually drive through our building from one side to the other. I’ll tell you how big it was – my wife and I water ski, so I’d park the boat here. We just thought, ‘cool, this place is huge,’ but that didn’t last.” Soon more walls met their demise, and the company now inhabits roughly 70,000 square feet.
Gemini’s success and continued growth is a testament to how much clients value a one-stop shop. Rentals have always been a big part of the business, first lighting, then audio, and later, video. Since opening a sales division in 2005 and a showroom in 2009, the design/installation department has become increasingly busy, taking on projects ranging from arenas, concert halls and hotel ballrooms, to theatres, houses of worship and high-end corporate.
Gemini LSV production recently out in support of long-time client Frankie Beverly. (click to enlarge)
The company also provides hands-on training and product demonstrations at their shop, Cain says: “Rigging, safety and motor classes – mostly lighting – but when somebody calls and says, ‘could I come in and get someone to show me this new desk?’ Well, absolutely. I’m promoting my equipment and I’m the only one in town that has this large of a variety of digital consoles, so it’s good for us to do that as well.”
In recent years, Gemini has increasingly focused on growing the business regionally. It’s a strategy that’s served them well and, in combination with the diverse services and products they offer and the loyalty of long time clients, has helped them weather the economic downturn. “One of our best years business-wise was 2008,” Cain notes, “and although we didn’t get hit as hard as some did, in 2009 we were down by about 35 percent. In 2010 we bounced back, and 2012 has been our best year ever.”
When things did start to get lean, long-term clients like Beverly helped a lot. “In 2009, we did 80 or 90 shows with Frankie. He just never stops playing and we’re very thankful to him,” he says.