Company’s Longevity Tied to Protecting Gear against Worst-Case Scenarios
Road cases are a worthwhile investment, because they protect equipment that can be exorbitantly expensive. Even the simplest of gear can be in the thousands of dollars, and buying a new one every time it bounces out of the back of a semi trailer isn’t an option for many companies in this business. Often enough a million dollar lighting rig may be dependent on some $99 Ethernet switch. I realise that may surprise some. Those little gems need to be in something that can withstand the beating of the road. This is where a passionate case manufacturer comes into the equation.
“I think about a case project in the middle of the night, still, after almost 25 years in the business,” says Afshin “Shane” Zakhor of Los Angeles-based ProCases Inc. January 2019 marks the 25th anniversary of his company, and that drive for perfection is a big reason why his company has grown from its humble beginnings into what it is today. “We started out with about an $800 investment of a table saw and a miter saw, and we turned that into a multi-million dollar company,” Zakhor adds. “Passion goes a long way in this business.”
From DJ Gear to Helicopter Blades
In the early 1990s, Zakhor’s company started off as a supplier of DJ cases, with 200 square feet of working space and a dedication to making strong, accurate, and protective cases that satisfied the need of his customers and his personal passion. That 200 square feet grew as business grew, and one client led to another, and one industry led to another industry as reputation for strength and quality became evident in Zakhor’s workmanship.
“One of our main tenets of production is worst-case scenarios,” Zakhor says. “We think in absolute worst-case, cable-trunk-flying-off-the-back-of-a-semi-onto-the-highway-at-a-hundred-miles-an-hour situations. That’s where our quality lies, because that’s when the customer needs our work the most. With trucking accidents, that’s a worst-case scenario — when an entire truckload of your cases flies all over the highway. We thrive in that environment.”
Relationships are an important part of the ProCases story as well. “Early in our career we got a call from John Wiseman, who had a flood and had a bunch of his cases ruined,” Zakhor recalls. “John called us and said ‘I had a flood, and a bunch of my cases were ruined; come and redo the foam, fix these for me.’ We did a solid job for John, which led to more work and reputation, which in turn led to relationships with other lighting companies, sound companies, video companies, you name it. It’s all in how well you built your last case for somebody that gets you the next case to make for somebody.”
The need to protect valuable products from damage during transport is universal, and Zakhor and his ProCases team is ready to help with a variety of solutions. If your widget needs a case, they can help. Workboxes? Got it. Tool chests? You got it. AV cases, audio cases, lighting road cases, video protection…it’s all a part of the ProCases inventory. Helicopter rotor blades? Yes, they do that, too.
“We build waterproof cases for helicopter blades for the Coast Guard, and that’s a yearly thing,” says Zakhor, acknowledging some unique challenges that went along with that unique opportunity. “The company making the helicopters wouldn’t even talk to us — they would hang up in my face when I called to get details and dimensions, something about being top secret,” he says. “With some non-specific details from a Coast Guard airman, we were able to make this 20-foot helicopter blade case for the U.S. Coast Guard. They would transport the blades onto an aircraft carrier inside our custom case with the body of the helicopter, and once onboard, they’d open up our case and snap these long rotor blades that came protected inside this giant road case we made from conversations.”
Leveraging Emerging Technologies
Although ProCases got its start before the Internet became known as the World Wide Web, the company has leveraged the latest technologies to meet the needs of its clients. Working with a customer, Shane says he and his team can design a custom case for a client in 30 minutes to an hour, and using their custom CNC-router setup, they can calculate and perfect the nooks and crannies for anything needing protection.
“We work a lot with clients over the phone and with screen sharing to get the detail exactly right for the client’s project,” Zakhor states. “If a CAD drawing exists of something that needs a case, or I can take a look at a piece of gear, I can design and cut exactly the right bits of protection to make sure that thing stays safe. Our custom business works very well this way, working directly with customers in virtual space, wherever they are in the world.”
Zakhor’s passion for perfection has served his company and customers well for 25 years, and it doesn’t look like that’s about to change any time soon. When most people clock out and head home, the last thing they think about is a road case. For Zakhor, however, he’s always thinking about how to protect his customer’s gear.
“Solutions come to me at all times of the day and night, and you gotta love those that hit you at two or three in the morning,” Zakhor chuckles. “There are always those times when you are trying to come up with a complex solution to a difficult or challenging case, and it comes like a train early in the morning when you’re least expecting it. Those are the ones I live for.”
If you’re in need of a worst-case-scenario-proof road case for any and everything, check out the ProCases range. From audio to backline and lighting to customs, Shane and his crew can give your gear life beyond the road.