Whim leads TV writer to Nebraska to sell gongs

AP News
Posted: Jan 30, 2013 3:28 AM
Whim leads TV writer to Nebraska to sell gongs

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Listen closely, and the deep rumblings of gongs can be heard emanating from a small warehouse in an industrial section of Lincoln in southeast Nebraska.

New York City native Andrew Borakove keeps his inventory for Gongs Unlimited in the building tucked away on the southwest edge of the city. And each day, he "tests" the merchandise for customers who call wanting a certain sound by holding the phone up to the gongs as they're struck.

A decade ago, Borakove, 51, was a television comedy writer living in Los Angeles. But the work was hit-or-miss, and his family was growing.

He said he headed to the beach one day to meditate and seek divine guidance for his life. It was during that time that he was hit with the notion to sell gongs.

"You get the vision, then you test it with software," Borakove said. "You beta-test it."

His research showed there was high demand for the flat, metal musical discs, but few sellers on the Internet. So, in 2005, he started Gongs Unlimited with a $3,000 line of credit. Two years later, he and his business moved from LA to Lincoln's southwest edge — sight unseen — after he had another whim, this time to relocate to a midsize Midwest community.

"I just put my finger on a map, and it landed on Nebraska," Borakove said. "My wife is from Elkhorn. She's the one who went and picked out the house. But the day I moved was the first time I ever set foot in Nebraska."

Now, Borakove may be the world's pre-eminent gong dealer, selling hundreds of gongs, stands and gong-banging mallets a year — $800,000 worth last year. His clientele runs the gamut from car dealerships to Dubai casinos to rocker Roger Daltrey of The Who.

"We're growing. We're bursting at the seams with our gongs," he said. "We're putting on a big gong show, really."