Woman’s networking pays off for family business, community

Cindy Gaboury started out as a teacher.

Cindy Gaboury of Waynesville never set out to be a business owner. Born in North Carolina into an Air Force family, Cindy lived in 16 different houses before she was 18 years old. In 1977, she landed in Dayton after her dad was stationed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

“We moved to Fairborn, and I graduated from Park Hills High School in 1980,” she said.

With intentions of becoming a teacher, Cindy attended college for two years at Miami University and two years at Wright State University, where she graduated in 1984 with her degree in elementary education. That is also where she met her husband, Kirby Gaboury.

“I knew Kirby always had a passion for stereo equipment,” Cindy said. “We got married right out of college and I started teaching.”

Then on Dec. 1 of that same year, Kirby started his business, Audio Etc. In those days he was mostly buying used stereo equipment, fixing it up and reselling it. His first store front was in Beavercreek.

“I was at the store most of the time when I wasn’t teaching,” Cindy said. “We worked nights and weekends in the beginning too.”

The business grew quickly, especially once the couple decided to become local dealers for major manufacturers like Sony and Samsung. They were both just 21 years old at the time.

“We started talking about not just being a store to sell things,” Cindy said. “We were installing in homes and that kept us busy!”

Cindy decided to stop teaching after three years and join her husband full time in the business. She put her networking and relationship building skills to work to help expand their business into commercial work.

And networking she did, with gusto. She joined the Centerville Noon Optimist Club, Women in Business Networking, and the Kettering, Moraine and Oakwood and Springboro Chambers. She joined the Dayton Fashion Week steering committee, the Heart of Centerville and helped found the Country Club of the North Business After 5 and the Business Neighborhood Coffee Club.

And all that networking paid off.

In 2002, the couple moved their business from their original 3,000 square foot store to a 17,000 square foot building in Centerville. Inside they created a lifestyle showroom so customers can experience the look and feel of a complete audio system.

“We ventured out into the community in 2011,” Gaboury said. “And realized how important it is to give back.”

With that realization came the desire to help local nonprofits by providing free meeting space in their building – “The Community Room @Audio Etc.” The couple continues to donate money and in-kind donations of electronics and accessories to nonprofits for their local fundraisers. They also own the only mobile theater in the nation and not only rent it out but also donate the use of it to silent and live auctions.

“I would say we do everything from selling headphones out the door to putting together and installing whole home systems,” Gaboury said. “Our commercial work includes Ohio’s Hospice and the Dayton Food Bank, and we are the Dayton Dragons official AV company.”

Kirby, the president of the company, supports the Victory Project by mentoring at-risk young men and teaching them professional conduct, while helping them gain employment and learn trades. Cindy, the vice president, continues to serve on boards and helps other small business owners leverage their own networking skills to help them achieve success.

The couple has two children, Sean, now 34, who is the lead programmer for Audio Etc. and Heather, 32, who works as a senior designer in Columbus.

“We have received many awards and recognition, but none made me feel prouder than being named one of the top 500 influential executives in Ohio,” Cindy said.

In 2022, Ohio Business Magazine launched this list and asked its readers for nominations of leaders who are making a difference in the state. For Cindy, this is a pinnacle of sorts, because “influential” to her means giving back and paying it forward.

“I feel that I get so much more back than what I give,” Cindy said. “When I am meeting with all these amazing businesses, I’m building lasting friendships and it’s truly the best part of my job.”

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