ARP dollars in Action: Revox Media LLC

Written by Michael Outlaw, City of Erie Community Liaison | Photos by Monica Z. Gustin, City of Erie Digital Media and Design Specialist

“Take a risk on yourself.”

Chris Norris lives by those words, and he encourages others to do the same.

Norris, 37, owner of Revox Media LLC, grew up south of Erie, in Sharon, Mercer County, known for Daffin’s chocolate. Norris moved to Erie 14 years ago to pursue a corporate job that offered a pension that helped support his family. But he realized that working a corporate job wasn’t fulfilling. “When you do not love the work you do,” Norris said, “You do not bring your best self home (to your family).”

In 2019, Chris left his job to start his own media business. He used his iPhone for his first assignment for a local nonprofit. “That first fundraising video recording wasn’t my best work,” said Norris, who knew, at the time, that he needed to improve his skills. He signed up for classes at Community Access Media, which provided him with the necessary equipment and knowledge to be more successful.

Chris Norris, Revox Media LLC owner, strategist, and video producer sets up lighting and camera gear for an interview at the Achievers Entrepreneurial Hub, 930 Liberty St. on May 9, 2023. MONICA Z. GUSTIN/CITY OF ERIE

Less than a year later, in March 2020, the world changed. But “during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, my business thrived.” He credits a $2,500 City of Erie ARP grant for part of his business success. He used the grant to upgrade his video equipment, which allowed him to double his client load. “If it wasn’t for the ARP grant,” Norris said, “I would have had to save money for years to purchase that equipment for my business.”

Norris began with one client and an iPhone in 2019. By 2022, he doubled his client base and took in $125,000 in revenue. Because of the ARP grant, “I can be the best version of myself, and be in front of people capturing their stories through video storytelling.”

Scott Hitz, owner of Your Sailing Adventure, at left, sits for a Paramount Pursuits interview led by Chris Norris, at right, Revox Media owner, strategist, and video producer, at the Achievers Entrepreneurial Hub, 930 Liberty St., on May 9, 2023. Hitz is part of Paramount Pursuit’s mentorship program that empowers entrepreneurs and business growth in communities. MONICA Z. GUSTIN/CITY OF ERIE

Revox Media is now located in Renaissance Centre, the tallest building in the City, in the Radius CoWork office.

Some of Norris’ inspiration came from helping Glenn Stearns, who was the star of the Discovery Channel’s popular “Undercover Billionaire” reality show. Stearns also helped start the popular Underdog BBQ business in Millcreek Township. During Stearns’ time in Erie, he shared with Norris valuable and practical advice and real-world knowledge based on his three decades in business.

Chris Norris, at left, Revox Media owner, strategist, and video producer; and Jamilia Gates, administrative assistant of Erie’s Black Wall Street discusses video projects during a Revox Media consultation at the EBWS headquarters, 650 East Ave. Suite 113. Norris received an American Rescue Plan grant to help purchase updated camera gear to further grow his business and help organizations like EBWS. EBWS commits to identifying, recognizing, and supporting the work of Black businesses in Erie and its surrounding communities by promoting the work of its members. MONICA Z. GUSTIN/CITY OF ERIE

Taking Stearns’ advice, Norris forged new business relationships with Erie’s Black Wall Street, Erie City Mission, Erie Dawn Inc., Erie Downtown Development Corporation, and Community Resources for Independence, among others. Those new connections align with Revox’s mission to help organizations and individuals share their voices and reach more people through the power of video. Revox believes that in a noisy world, your story and the story of those you serve deserves to be heard. 

“Erie is perfect in size to forge relationships and make the right connections.”

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