North State Audio Visual

About Us

About Us

North State Audio Visual

North State AV, Inc and has been in business for almost 30 years. We are a professional event production company and licensed installers of audio visual systems with a long and proud history, an extensive equipment inventory and consistent track record of success and reliability. We provide Northern California with affordable pricing on state of the art systems and services, custom designed for your special events or facility. Our goal is to be the benchmark provider for the area and the company you call first and repeatedly for all your event production and installation needs.

Our staff is extensively trained, fast, efficient and delightful to work with. We are fully licensed and bonded C-10 and C-7 Electrical Contractors (CA Lic# 1024137), certified riggers, Dante 3 and CTS certified professionals, allowing us to legally and skillfully hang, rig and connect our systems to building structures, existing systems and power infrastructure... Most of our competitors do not bother to comply with these regulations which makes hiring us a much smarter, safer choice to protect yourself and ensure the safety of your employees, patrons and guests.

North State Audio Visual works all over California, and the surrounding states, providing professional production services, from San Francisco City Hall for the opening of the ballet, to multiple State University and school district events, to music festivals and concerts. We do events as large as Facebook’s company picnic and as small as a junior high promotion ceremony. We also support a wide variety of charitable organizations with donated and discounted services. Local events are a key part of our annual calendar and community service has been a fundamental priority from the start.

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North State Audio Visual


This is a demanding company to work for with a very detailed and demanding set of expectations, rules and procedures that our staff are expected to deliver on. We seek out team members that are honest, intelligent, reliable, respectful and have a good work ethic and we pay them and treat them well so that they are happy and value the work so they do a great job for you! But there are just three of us that run things around here and whom you may contact to discuss your event, rental or installation needs and to execute business with North State Audio Visual, Inc. We hope to hear from you!

Bob Tolar Director of Event Production Services

Our owner and founder, Bob Tolar, has built this company on the principals of community support and a dedication to his many clients and staff. He is responsible for overseeing all business management activities from payroll and accounting to employee training, marketing and customer satisfaction. Call him with any administrative needs. Bob’s primary daily role however is to book and oversee all event production services and equipment rentals. He designs the system packages, quotes the prices and staffs the events. He is the one to talk to if you have an event that you need audio visual services for or you would like to reserve an equipment rental for pickup.

Justin Thomson Director of Sales & Installation

Justin Thomson runs the Sales and Installation division of North State AV. If you have an installation project contact him. He will come out and do a site survey and discuss your needs, design and quote a solution and then oversee installation of the project. Justin is extremely detail oriented and meticulous, has excellent construction and wiring skills and hold his own work to the highest possible standards. He Is a great communicator and has designed many very complex and creative audio visual solutions with an emphasis on reliable, simple to operate and maintain. His work is present in every industry and school district in the region and we get great reviews on his projects.

Matt Strausbaugh Rental and Fleet Manager

If you are coming to pick up or drop off a rental from our facility in Chico, you will likely be helped by Matt Straus. He prepares and organizes all of the equipment to go out on shows and rentals, checks them back in, repairs and maintains the inventory and ensures our fleet of trucks is maintained in perfect working and esthetic order, so we can reliably travel to your location without any hangups and looking proud. Matt is also the inhouse specialist for many of our unique and complex systems like Lake processing, is a highly skilled audio visual technician and works on events as a lead tech regularly.

North State Audio Visual


Tolar AVL, Incorporated was a California S-Corp, founded in 1990 by Robert Tolar, a 21 year old college student at Chico State University and musician. Bob began purchasing sound gear to cut long term costs of renting PA’s for his classic rock cover band, Monkey Business, that was touring the Northern California club circuit and performing for corporate events in the Bay Area. After two years of throwing every red cent he found into gear, Bob had possession of the finest sound system in town, among the many local bands. “Hey man! If your not playing Friday night, how much would you charge to bring out your PA and do sound for our band?” and Tolar Sounds Audio Services was born.

When Bob graduated in 1995 with a Bachelors Degree in Marketing and a minor in Recording Arts he obtained a business loan for $40,000 and made his first big purchase. He also obtained a half time position as a Studio Technician for CSU, Chico’s Recording Arts Program and began teaching audio classes on the university level. The internship program with CSUC was also launched that year. Using the income from the college to pay for living expenses, Bob Tolar reinvested all the revenues from the sound company back into equipment. Today the company owns over $1.5 Million in assets with annual investments averaging $100,000 each year.

Using the very well equipped scene shop at Chico State’s performing arts center, Tolar Sounds began building speaker enclosures and road cases in 1997. Equipped with a considerable welding facility, the shop also allowed the development of custom fly hardware, mounting brackets and framework to be designed and custom built. Tolar Sounds began to develop a positive reputation for innovative designs and extremely meticulous engineering.

In the year 2000, Tolar Sounds began designing and installing sound systems for local venues. One of the first jobs we did was The Sierra Nevada Brewing Company’s beautiful concert showroom, which has grown to become one of Northern California’s key hotspots. We designed and installed the equipment for this venue and have done several upgrades since. It includes a full concert sound system, elaborate lighting system and corporate video projection and switching. We are still the in house AV company for Sierra Nevada and handle all production for the room. You can check out some of these shows Friday nights on PBS. The venue has seen some great artists over the years. Huey Lewis filmed his 25 anniversary DVD in High Definition at this venue. Come see a show some time, but be sure to buy your tickets early. Every show they do sells out a half hour after tickets go on sale.

Between September 11th, 2001 and the over saturation of concerts offered by the emerging Indian Casinos, local long time concert promoters began losing money on their shows and the concert industry, outside the casino market, took a dive which drove down prices. We duked it out with other regional companies for market share and thankfully faired well, but the experience drove us to diversify the company for further stability. For this reason, we added Disk Jockey Services and sound reinforcement for weddings and began offering video services and renting projectors and screens, a segment of the business that has grown significantly each year since then. Unfortunately in this business if you want a larger piece of pie, you have to take someone elses…and we like pie!

So also in 2001, Tolar Sounds became a reseller of professional audio equipment, obtaining dealerships for the high end lines that the company had been relying on for years. The company obtained a C7 California State Contractors License the following year and began aggressively designing, selling and installing sound systems for churches, schools, clubs and restaurants. In 2003 the company began providing lighting and video sales and service as well, installing projectors, screens and video cameras and offering AV services for business seminars and meetings at hotels and rental halls throughout Northern California. Currently our contracting division is managed by Chuck Mahar, former proprietor of the Sound Source music retailer in Chico, and he has diversified it dramatically, providing unique and advanced systems integration solutions for a wide range of clients from sound masking white noise systems for the county courthouses to SMART Class Rooms for our local schools.

In 2004, Tolar Sounds Audio Services was incorporated and the name was changed to Tolar AVL, Inc. (for audio, video & lighting) A brief stint with our own mini sprint race car proved to be a total waste of money, but was fun for a while. You might have seen us getting our butts kicked at Cycle Land Speedway one Saturday night.

Finally in 2009, we embarked into full scale concert lighting, In the last several years this division has taken off and we have invested a great deal of money into lighting assets. We find that we have very few competitors that are on par with what we can offer in the area of lighting and the division is very healthy and busy every week.

During the economic recessionary period of 2009-2011, we did nothing but grow each and every year since. There was a decline in revenue but we showed an increase in net profits due to vastly revolutionizing our methods, systems and efficiency. We now have extensive employee training and documentation which not only allow us to get new employees up to par fast, but to protect ourselves from liability by being able to document our safety procedures and training methods. All key production staff are now Certified Riggers, tested and certificated by the National Crane Institute

In 2012 we had the best year ever with our contracting division exploding into growth and has now reached epic levels of complexity and recognition, bringing in exciting revenue and opportunities. As we embarked on 2013 we saw dramatic increase in the production business as well and we have calculated that revenue for this year may double our best year ever.

In 2014 we sold our interest in the Sales and Installation Division to concentrate on our real love, which is production for events. Our latest investment is in large scale outdoor LED Jumbo Tron Video Displays, which have been a huge and successful addition to our offerings.

In 2017, a new corporation was formed called North State Audio Visual. The assets of Tolar AVL were sold by it’s officers to North State Audio Visual in exchange for stock shares in the new company and now the company operates under this new name.

We hope you are also doing well! Thank you for taking the time to learn about the history of North State Audio Visual, Inc…

See what our clients have to say

Client Testimonials

Stephanie Yunker, Director of University Public Engagement

California State University, Chico We have hired North State AV to provide sound, lighting and video wall services for Chico State Commencement for almost 20 years. When I took the position I was already familiar with them, having worked with them extensively at my last job with the Downtown Chico Business Association. When doing large scale public events such as these, it is absolutely paramount that every vendor is properly vetted to make sure that accessibility and safety codes are strictly adhered to, that all vendor staff conduct themselves in an appropriate and professional manner and that everything looks and performs flawlessly. North State AV not only provides that with excellence, they have continually acted as a team partner helping to address challenges and come up with solutions that meet the needs of multiple departments. Having them there brings me peace of mind!

Sara Prather, Director of Marketing

Colusa Casino & Resort Over the last decade, North State AV has been an indispensable partner in our journey to deliver exceptional outdoor concerts and indoor comedy experiences at Colusa Casino Resort. Their unwavering commitment to excellence in audio and visual production has elevated every event we've organized. Their expertise in crafting immersive audio experiences has greatly contributed to the success of our outdoor concert series. Whether it's setting up intricate sound systems or ensuring seamless integration of lighting and visuals, their attention to detail is unmatched. Bob and his team go above and beyond to ensure that every aspect of our event production is executed flawlessly. Their proactive approach to problem-solving make them a reliable partner we can always count on, even in the face of unexpected challenges. North State AV’s excellent service, reliability, and professionalism makes them an invaluable asset to any production team. We look forward to continuing our partnership for many more years to come.

Kier LaCrosse, CEO & Founder

Allegra Entertainment & Events North State AV, is an amazing company and has been an integral AV partner of Allegra Entertainment & Events for well over 2 decades. Allegra has a 100% return corporate clientele rate since we opened the doors in early 2001, and NSAV is a large reason why we have found such success. Our clientele includes top Fortune 500 Companies, including Tesla, Google, Roche, Genentech, Apple, Samsung, NVIDIA, Stanford University, the San Jose Sharks, San Francisco Giants, The City and County of San Francisco, SF Ballet, SF Opera, and many more. Such clients demand state-of-art gear and hi-tech savvy techs. NSAV also provides the afore mentioned services at the most competitive rates we have ever seen in the industry. The bottom line is that NSAV brings us and our clients great value, service, and has helped us become one of West Coasts top event, entertainment and production firms.

Travis Johnson, Onsite Events Manager

Sierra Nevada Brewery We have had the pleasure of working with North State Audio Visual for many years and can confidently say that they are second to none. Their unwavering reliability and professionalism exceed our expectations time and time again. Whether it’s a small-scale event or a large-scale production, North State AV approaches each project with meticulous attention to detail and a commitment to excellence. Their ability to communicate and solve problems ensures that all our events are a success. They also installed our recent sound, video and lighting system upgrades which turned out incredibly nice and have been met with rave reviews. Thank you NSAV!

Dan Gonzales, Real Estate Developer

Meriam Park and Diamond Match Factory I’ve known and trusted Bob and North State Audio Visual since our first grand opening party at Fifth Sun some 15 years ago. It was a full fashion show and he provided an unbelievable audio visual service that transformed the room and blew everyone away. They do not disappoint! Since then, I call Bob for everything, I explain my vision and once we agree on a course of action, I trust him to do it the way he thinks it should be done. He puts serious thought into a tasteful and stunning design, always over achieves and makes it happen at a price normally under what I expected. North State AV has also provided for all of my installation needs at the Meriam Park development project, to my complete satisfaction. Finally, when it came time to have my daughter’s wedding at the Diamond Match Factory (which had no electricity at the time), North State AV delivered again with a stunning and tasteful transformation which included installing all of the temporary power needs for catering, lights, sound and band. Chico is lucky to have him and his North State AV team.

Allena Jeremiah, Special Events Coordinator

Boys & Girls Club of the Northern Valley We hire North State Audio Visual to handle the sound, video and lighting for our annual Valentines Gala, a crucial fundraiser for the Boys & Girls Club of the North Valley. Their work transforms our events into stunning and elegant environments that guarantee a strong turnout year after year. They efficiently get in and out incredibly fast, are a pleasure to work with, and kindly offer us a great deal. Additionally, we have entrusted them with various installation projects over the years, and I am consistently pleased with their work. Highly recommend them.

Ashley Smith, Owner & Senior Planner

North State Events I have had the pleasure to work with North State AV several times and the service, expertise and professionalism is next to none. I own a local event planning company and whenever we have the pleasure of working with Bob and his team, I never have to worry. They know just what is needed, are experts in their field and never disappoint. Last year we did the most elaborate wedding I have worked on to date. Bob had the best ideas on how to transform a historic, massive & old building and to make it incredible. I had numerous comments on how the building looked at night and it was all because of North State AV. Not only is Bob an expert in his field, he is also a joy to be around and work with, is a team player and always cares about the event and the client. As a result North State AV is our go-to for lighting, sound and video services. Whenever I refer his business, I never have a doubt that they will impress! Thank you so much North State AV for being so stellar!

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