Dr. Joey Lopez, a San Antonio native, received his B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in New Media, a specialized Act Lab program headed by Sandy Stone, who is well known for being one of the founders of Transgender Studies, a sound recording engineer who memorably worked with Jimi Hendrix, and a former employee of Bell Labs, which was akin in the 50s what Google is today. The core tenants of the Act Lab program were to “make stuff, take risks and be awesome” said Lopez.
Lopez took that attitude to the University of the Incarnate Word where he ran a convergent media program as a professor. He met future business partner Christian Rios, a student at the time earning his degree in the discipline who shared a love for HI-FI stereo and gaming. Rios refamiliarized Lopez with the San Antonio scene after returning from Austin and they joked about one day starting a HI-FI shop, which Lopez had experience with having helped run Concert Sound, a local HI-FI shop (now located in Austin operating as an importer of electronics) from 2000-2010.
Rios, an industrious student interested in business development, found the building which would become an arcade first, then the HI-FI shop in 2013 after an exhaustive search on the South and West sides of town. The name “dreamonoid” is based off “asteroids, gallika, dream cast…back when I was in college there was Sega-Dream Cast and I was torrenting and a member of demonoids, which was an invite-only torrent site that had some good stuff. And so, one day, I used to DJ in college for extra cash and I need an alias and was on “demonoid” playing Dream Cast and I just googled it and literally, no one has it, so I got the domain name.”
The building is a bright and colorful graffiti-like mural painted by artist Louie Chavez of Laredo. It depicts stereos, cartoon characters, a bustier-wearing woman appearing to enjoy music and the phrase “make the city shake.” Prior, the building was home to nonprofit Hope Action Care and was carpeted with many rooms. Rios demoed and cleared out the place, filling it with 20-30 arcade machines, including pinball. Although it was successful, it closed after two and a half years because it wasn’t the vision Rios had hoped for which was to be “a haven for young youths” from the community. Instead, it became more of a hang-out spot for adult males that ended up driving away kids, who had to wait too long for advanced adult gamers to finish exhaustive gaming sessions. With the help of a friend and his former professor, Joey Lopez, Dreamonoids 2.0 was reimagined as the business it is today selling exclusive HI-FI products.
Lopez knew how to get in touch with distributors from his work with Concert Sound and Rios knew how to run a business. They formed a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC), working with a lawyer and a CPA and began the business, advertising solely online. The prices range is 1k to 30k, so they only need a few customers a month to be profitable. They also sell used equipment ranging from “a hundred to a couple of thousands” and can recommend sound systems at all levels for anyone who comes into the shop.
People will come in to see hundreds of records ranging from Beethoven to 2Pac from the private collection of Lopez to hear firsthand the quality of the music they love blasting from handmade sound equipment. I am played a demo of Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” and indeed, it sounded like I was seeing the band play live. So, not only are you paying for world-class quality but for the livable wages paid to the adult artisans working at Rega (the primary brand they sell) who handmake the equipment. Once customers decide on the type of speaker, turntable or stereo they want, Dreamonoids places an order with the distributor and it is delivered.
In addition to working towards the growth Dreamonoids, the team is active in helping the community thrive and other businesses develop. Says Lopez, “There is a network from San Antonio, Austin and College Station that Dr. Joey Lopez helps to “cross-pollinate.” Lopez now has his own lab at Texas A & M and is receiving funding to build a New Media program which focuses on social and cultural issues, such as the intersection of homelessness and meth addiction. This is a topic he is studying with an addiction physician from Boston to find out “how much of it is mental health, how much of it is drugs, how much of it is homelessness, what’s contributing to the cycle.”
Another is an idea Lopez and Rios are working on is one with Launch SA (the local program focused on educating and supporting small business), which focuses on entrepreneurship at the collegiate level. The goal is to have students work collaboratively with small businesses as a pipeline of resources to help businesses develop. As a professor, Lopez builds his program and promotes community engagement, “so it works serendipitously with what I do.” The duo is knowledgeable about the resources that have helped them, such as the matching grant they received from geographic nonprofit, Westside Development Corporation, to help repair a costly A/C.
Lopez and Rios have a 5 to 10-year plan. They are currently in year two going on year three. They did not take a business loan. They went lean, taking a “boot strap approach…. We aren’t looking at our immediate success. We’re looking at building long term, personal relationships with our customers, vendors, and distributors.”
1711 Guadalupe St. San Antonio, Texas 78207
Business Hours: Saturday & Sunday 12-5 PM (Appointments available for other days)
210-880-5706, email Dreamonoids@gmail.com
Call or visit for best pricing.