Central Wisconsin music store owners talk about the business - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Central Wisconsin music store owners talk about the business

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CENTRAL WISCONSIN (WAOW) -

While central Wisconsin musicians say the area isn't necessarily an area to make significant money performing, News 9 talked to music store owners who report they are doing relatively well.

They say the business has changed over the past 20 years, primarily because of the internet. Online sales have become an important part of the bottom line.

"These days I think we all do a certain amount of selling online," said Dion Starck, owner of October Guitars. "You kind of have to in any small business these days. Actually, in any business, really, these days. But still, a lot people coming in. My inventory is as full as it's ever been."

Jim Laabs, owner of Jim Laabs Music in Stevens Point, has more historical perspective on the business scene than most.

"And, so, you know in the last 60 years there certainly has been a lot of change," said Laabs. "And as far as how the business is doing? We're doing very good. We've been very prosperous but we've really had to change our way of doing things."

That change has caused music stores to thin-down staff. Meanwhile, an industry standard called a map price keeps prices steady between businesses.

"We internet price these days, so you're not paying any less on the internet than what you are here," said Starck. "So we all have to sell our product at the same price. We're not allowed to sell any cheaper than that and advertise for it."

Despite the rise in internet sales, store owners agree that they wouldn't buy instruments online. 

"I personally, and not because I own a music store, wouldn't buy a guitar online," said Dick Lodholz, owner of Jerry's Music. "You don't know what you're going to get. And the teachers stress don't do that."

Lodholz added that some students buy cheap instruments online, which in turn end up at their store for repairs.

As for the future, owners say they're hopeful that the business will grow. 

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