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Trade Regrets: Jack Shallat

by Christian Wissmuller • in
  • Featured
  • Trade Regrets
• Created: November 8, 2018

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Jack Shallat, previous co-owner of Buddy Roger’s Music, passed away November 5, 2018 following a brief illness just weeks after celebrating his 100th birthday.  Shallat was a successful retailer, with his partner Buddy Roger, for 33 years in the greater Cincinnati area and helped thousands of young students get started in beginning band and orchestra.

As a young man, Shallat played violin professionally in Cincinnati and travelled the country with several groups.  During his playing days, he met Buddy Roger and the two became good friends.  When the war broke out, Shallat traded his violin for a trombone and performed with an Army band, successfully defending a base in Texas.

His first experience in retail came when he went to work for Wurlitzer in Cincinnati and learned the fine art of selling. After eight years he left and opened a store with his former boss from Wurlitzer in the western part of Cincinnati called Western Hills Music Mart.  Operating on a shoe string, Jack benefited from his perseverance, strong work ethic and ability to communicate the benefits of music in the area schools. The business grew with Jack increasing the school business and his partner building a base in the store of instrument sales and lessons.  Tragically, his partner died suddenly and left Jack to operate the business without the benefit of someone minding the store while he was out in the schools every day.

A conversation with Buddy Roger at an NASMD Convention in 1967 led them to merging their companies and operating under the Buddy Roger’s Music name.  It was an ideal partnership and the company flourished and became one of the outstanding retailers in the industry.  Jack once noted, “My association with Buddy Roger was such that we never had an argument, only discussions”

Shallat retired from the business in 1988 but continued to play his violin professionally until 2014, performing two nights a week in a local Italian restaurant as a strolling violinist.  The restaurant had a large following of customers that regularly came to listen to Jack and be serenaded at their table.  Even after he stopped playing at the age of 96, he regularly held court at the bar of this restaurant at the request of many customers and of the owner.

Jack Shallat created a legacy in the industry and the employees of Buddy Roger’s Music, the many people in the industry he mentored, and his family and friends will celebrate his memory.

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