- Written by Kevin Mitchell
- Published: 03 July 2013
Why mess with anything else? 95 percent of our business is saxophones, with most of our sales being tenor saxophones. We carry Selmer, Buffet, Keilwerth, P. Mauriat, Cannonball, and our own brand, TM Custom. We also buy and sell a lot of vintage saxophones, especially Selmer MVIs.
… and yet… :I played the French Horn through college. The rest of the woodwinds I “play” for testing purposes only…
Call of the wild? …and you really don’t want to hear my test pattern. It’s not pretty. The guys teasingly call my saxophone test pattern my “saxophone love call.”
How many bodies in the shop? We have 10 employees.
… and at home? Wife Shirley; Kids Rayna, Ryan, and Sara.
Finish the sentence, “I would not be caught playing…” “Achy Breaky Heart.”
A reason for success: I hire employees who have good work ethics and are passionate about the jobs they are doing. Everyone in our shop is a musician and is always in a learning mode.
Career high point: Successfully launching our current Tenor Madness saxophones and Tenor Madness products.
What gets me out of bed: Working one on one with people. I have had the privilege of working with some of greatest jazz players including Sonny Rollins, Michael Brecker, Chris Potter, Joshua Redman, and many more.
The not crazy-about-it part: Though I dislike talking on the phone, it is something that I have to do. My true passion is restoring saxophones and making them better.
My biggest mistake: My biggest mistake is taking working vacations. The running joke in our family is that our youngest daughter will think she hit the jackpot when she meets a guy that takes her on a real vacation. When she was little she thought a vacation week was going to a mall one day and eating one good meal, and then spending the rest of the week reading while I met with customers.
Last great band I heard: One of our customers, Jake Saslow, the tenor saxophonist for Michael Bublé, gave us tickets to see them play. We thought they were fantastic!
Most important thing you’ve learned in dealing with manufacturers: If you work hard promoting their product, they will go the extra mile for you.
Mentors in the business: The people that I owe a lot to include Progressive Winds’ Bob Ackerman and repair icon Saul Fromkin. Saul made me a better repairman and Bob allowed me to work on hundreds of vintage horns early in my career.
“Yes, I remember that 12-digit serial number”: I’m a bit of an absent-minded professor. I may not remember someone’s name but once I see their face I can probably tell you what kind of saxophone they play, their serial number range, and their mouthpiece and reed set-up.
It would surprise you to know… How many hours a day I play guitar. I play along with the commercials and background music on TV shows as well as tunes from the iPod I carry around with me.
They’re probably by the phone: Also, you’d be surprised how many times a day I can lose my glasses!
True or False: Can you be happy and rich in the music instrument business? Depends on how you define rich. If you’re talking money, maybe… experiences, absolutely!