By Scott Campbell
Seldom is someone at age 26 the CEO of a company, even a small one. Jason Klock can claim otherwise. The Harrisburg man is the founder and chief administrator of Klock Entertainment, an enterprise that was years in the making.
“My grandfather had a music store in Highspire, long before I came on the scene,” says Klock. “My dad was in a band when I was growing up, and I was a kind of roadie. So music has been a part of me from the time I was born.”
Klock’s first gig as a disc jockey was not planned. “I was 12 years old, in junior high,” he recalls. “The DJ failed to show for a school dance, and I substituted. By the time I was in high school at CD East, I had a small business going and, in my junior year, did my first wedding reception.”
Being a student proscribed Klock’s serious entry into the trade. But, by the time he turned 21, that changed. “Prospective clients don’t see a teenager in the same way as they see an adult,” he says. “My business increased, but I still kept my day job.”
Klock sold office equipment for his father, and then later was the regional accounts manager for CoolerSmart, a Delaware-based company that markets refreshment and filtration systems. “Going door to door trying to sell office equipment was a grind,” he says. “You didn’t sell, you didn’t get paid. But it was an invaluable experience, and brought my dad and me closer together.”
Through it all, he kept his hands in the DJ business. Then two seminal events occurred in 2011. “I got married, and in October of that year, was invited to a men’s prayer breakfast at Susquehanna Valley Evangelical Free Church,” he says. “The featured speaker talked about how he stepped out on faith to start his own business. His example encouraged me to do likewise. It was a big step. I had just gotten married and had that responsibility to my wife. But, once I made the decision to go full-time as a DJ, I felt a great burden lifted from me.”
Humble beginnings notwithstanding (Klock worked from his house the first eight months), he has never looked back. Klock Entertainment has been a rousing success; not just for its owner, but for those he employs.
“The office staff includes event coordinator Brian Bumpers, operations manager Adam Gingrich and receptionist Kayla Sparkman,” says Klock. “We have another 30 people who work the events. Most are wedding receptions, which accounts for approximately 80 percent of our business. This year, we’ve done 300. The balance of the business includes corporate outings, private gatherings, sweet-16 parties and proms.”
Despite his position as CEO, Klock works many events. “I’ve done 75 so far this year,” he says. “It’s a reflection of our company policy to keep in touch, to keep it personal. Our DJs get to know the clients so that the nature of entertainment that they will provide is appropriate. We haven’t lost that personal touch, despite the growth in the business.”
And the future? “We’d like to do larger and more detailed events,” says Klock. “That means not only having control over the music and lighting, which we already do, but also other aspects, like the interior décor. It’s a more comprehensive approach. “But,” he adds, “small events will always be just as important to us as they have been.”
To learn more about Klock Entertainment, visit klockentertainment.com.