Dave Byers

What is it like to own a music store?

What is it like to own a music store?

Having owned a music store since 1998 I'm asked: "What is it like to own a music store?"

Utterly fantastic! I've been blessed beyond measure. I got into music to play and of course wanted to tour the world. Well, that didn't happen. I took a detour and spent 4 years in the Air Force and then another 4 years working for other people. Then I started my own business selling bedroom furniture. I grew that to 5 stores and one day it starts hitting me why not do what you love? I was playing music and writing music since the day I first picked up an instrument in 1979 but of course, I had a family to support etc. So I started dabbling selling music online and started a website. That grew and I was able to move back to where my family is from and open a full music store.

What is it like to own a music store? It's a lot of work. I appreciate our customers greatly. I have met a ton of wonderful people. It's fun at times talking about music but of course, a lot of it is the same stories etc. People often think you get to play music all the time and I rarely get the chance. Maybe when doing a demo for a customer or putting something new on display for a moment, checking out a repair or setup or checking out an instrument someone is trying to sell me.

There's a lot of paperwork &computer work. Very tedious stuff that takes up the day. People often ask if we're playing solitaire on the computer as they see us on them so much. Yea... no. Keeping a website up, social media, selling on several different platforms, processing sales, ordering inventory, talking with suppliers, sales e-mails and calls and customer interaction fills up a day quite quickly.

There are times when it's tough. Fears of children people stealing, knocking things over, damaging things in the store. Folks who come in to complain about other musicians, bands etc. gets tiresome. But by far its honestly pretty good. I get to be around music, musicians, and people who love music. That's the cool thing. We'll have lessons going on every evening and Saturdays and you have music coming out of several rooms and maybe someone (or more) demoing another instrument on the sales floor so you have quite a few things at you at the same time. It's like living near a train track. After a few days it all blends in.

Some people shouldn't be in businesses or dealing with customers though. I say that because I've seen it with people I've known over the years and dealt with myself as a customer. I say this because you will encounter rude and ignorant people. Sometimes they're that way on purpose and sometimes just because they've had a bad day or are going through something and they take it out on you. That's life in sales and as a business owner, you run into that. Next time you meet them things may be different. You have to just "suck it up" and do your best and move on to the next customer. You can't keep thinking about that and taking it personally. It happens. Be nice, be professional and hang in there. But if this isn't you then I recommend another line of work.

It's really fun being an ambassador for music in my community. I promote the joy of music all the time. Encourage people who don't think they can or that their kids might not be able to play that they certainly can and how much fun it is.

I do sound at local fairs, festivals, and events and that's always a great time. Promoting music and how much fun it is. meeting new musicians and bands and seeing people inspired by music.
It's a lot of hard work though. Tons of e-mails to go through, orders to place, business decisions, customers to take care of, butts to kiss (lol) Some people come in and they can be interesting, tough to deal with etc. but the vast majority of people are pretty cool and I enjoy working with people. I did some time in an office and I much more prefer working with the public, as interesting as it is sometimes.