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Business Summary

Inland Audio Visual is a leading provider of audiovisual equipment and services. Inland AV’s team of specialists offer a comprehensive range of products and expertise through their dedicated sales, design, installation, service, event production, and rentals divisions. With headquarters in Winnipeg, this Canadian family-owned-and-operated business extends its full-service capabilities across Western Canada and into Ontario through strategic locations in Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, and Saskatoon.

Inland AV's experience with sales,  integration, construction, and design/build initiatives have contributed to the productivity and modernization of the communities they serve since 1937. 

The Early Years

Pioneering the audiovisual realm, Inland AV started operations in Winnipeg as Inland Broadcasting in 1937, introducing magnetic tape recorders to the Western Canadian broadcast industry. During the first few decades, Inland also sold audio visual equipment, taught broadcasting, produced commercials on their soundstage, and even made records utilizing their on-site recording studio. The most successful aspect of the business emerged from the sale of recorders and other audiovisual equipment which eventually brought the end to the broadcast school, soundstage, and recording studio.

 

While the strategic shift proved beneficial for the business, there is one lingering regret: the unforeseen monetary and historical value lost with the disposal of boxes of reel-to-reel tapes featuring some then unknown, now iconic artists like a very young Neil Young and The Guess Who. 

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A New Direction

In 1973, employee John Edward Werbowski, better known as “Ed”, took a pivotal step by purchasing the company from owner George Gallagher. Ed wasted no time in taking bold initiatives; he swiftly expanded the company into Saskatchewan, establishing a location in Saskatoon that same year, and later in Regina in 1979. 

Start of a Family Business

Since purchasing his business, Ed’s boys, Kim and Jim had one foot in the business. When they weren’t in school or skating (hockey is a multi-generational passion for the Werbowski family), they were in the warehouse meticulously unpacking and testing projectors, record players, and cassette recorders in order to guarantee functionality to their valued customers. They placed an “Inspected and Tested by Inland AV” sticker on each one, then repacked it carefully. With each product tested, the boys earned 25 cents. This was their first lesson in providing great customer service: providing products to clients that worked as expected. 

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Customer Driven

Over the years, however, this well-intentioned practice faced some unexpected feedback, not all customers were happy their brand-new equipment was arriving in open boxes. This prompted a second lesson in customer service for the boys: always give the customer what they want. They ceased their product testing/inspections and found alternative ways to contribute to the business. 

Growth and Innovation

In the 1980s, Kim and Jim assumed official roles, travelling the Prairies and steering the business’s growth. In 1988, they acted on an innovative idea to start renting equipment and providing professionally produced audio visual events for businesses in Winnipeg (no other brick and mortar companies were doing this at the time). The triumph of this expanded business model led all Inland AV locations to adopt this new service. Subsequently, the momentum carried them to expand in Alberta, with a new location in 1989 in Calgary, and then in Edmonton the following year. 

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Legacy

Into the 2000s, Ed maintained his leadership role while his sons, now VPs, assumed day-to-day operations. Ed’s presence at the office involved checking in, signing official documents, and engaging with employees. Transitioning from leasing buildings, the Werbowski family started plans for a custom-built twenty-two thousand square foot Winnipeg head office with attached warehouse on 1.5 acres of land.

Unfortunately, Ed passed away unexpectedly in 2010, just prior to breaking ground. Kim and Jim then took over as co-CEOs of Inland AV, actively steering and ensuring the growth and ongoing success of the family business across all locations including their new head office which opened in 2011.  

A Rotary Club of Winnipeg Scholarship was made in Ed's memory to continue his "service above self" attitude.  

Next Steps

As time went on, the next generation of the Werbowski family have taken leadership roles in the family business. In 2024, Kim and Jim transitioned from CEO positions to Principals, paving the way for passing the torch to the next generation, Kim’s son Sam, and Jim’s son Lane. Despite their step back, Kim and Jim remain actively engaged in the business, maintaining a strong presence, even when abroad. They continue to oversee operations, provide ongoing support to staff, and contribute their lifelong insights and invaluable experience to the company. 

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Bright Future, Proud Past

Kim and Jim take pride in their father's, sons’ and their own contributions to making Inland AV what it is today. They have contributed to the modernization, and placements of technological advancements in the communities they serve and employ a dedicated workforce of approximately one hundred professionals. With five locations across the Prairies, Inland AV continues to lead in introducing cutting-edge technology while providing old-school expertise and exceptional customer service. Their Mission Statement reflects their family values and commitment to all stakeholders: "Everything we do must be good for our Customers, our Employees, and our Company."

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Our Mission Statement reflects our family values and commitment to all stakeholders:

Everything we do must be good for our Customers, our Employees, and our Company.

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