“An early shot of Jeep Harned, testing and helping to build some of the first consoles at MCI.
Nowadays, Harned usually spends the first hall of his day in his office taklng care of MCI administration, and the second half in and around engineering where he is often inclined to get directly involved.
In 1955, GC Jeep Harned and wife Joyce opened a hi fi shop in Ft Lauderdale with $8,500 borrowed money.
“It was three years before we took home our first paycheck,” recalls Harned. “We struggled with Music Centers Inc for two years before moving to Sunrise Blvd. We even changed the name of our business to MCI, Inc. simply enough in 1964. We were tired of getting calls from people who wanted theatre tickets and guitar strings.”
While the retail business was slow, Harned, a graduate civil engineer, was repairing stereo components.
He also picked up some work installing commercial sound systems with clients like the Parker Playhouse, Pirate’s Worlds and Fort Lauderdale International Airport. From time to time he would work on sound systems in the neighboring Caribbean.
Finally, after struggling with their retail outlet for a decade, the Harneds, tired of starving and occasional store robberies, put a sign in front of their operation and asked $50 for everything, lock, stock and barrel.
“We just plain wanted out,” says Harned. “We had been knocking ourselves out for 10 years and had a net worth of less than $1,000. We also had quite a number of debts. I wrote to our creditors and told them they would just have to be patient…..”