Shop Talk: B's Music Shop provides instruments, instruction
Owner Name: Brian Hansen
Address: 613 N. Mission St. Mount Pleasant, MI 48858
Phone Number: (989) 773-0777
Walking into B’s Music Shop, customers are greeted by blue walls lined with guitars, stacks of records as tall as a person, and ‘80s rock music enticing them to play some music of their own.
Each section of the store has a unique purpose. The shiny “electric” side contains new and used drum sets, electric guitars and amplification systems. The more mellow “acoustic” side is home to hundreds of ukuleles, acoustic guitars and vinyl records organized by their genre of music.
The back of the store has become a musical haven, now dedicated to providing music lessons — including the nine-to-10 week bootcamp dubbed "ukulele karate" — for more than 140 students.
The shop, run by Brian Hansen, is a display of how music can reach people of all ages, ability levels and instrument preferences. Hansen said above all, music should just be fun for everybody involved.
CM Life: "What kind of services do you provide to the community?"
Hansen: "We sell music instruments, new and used. We sell vinyl records, we offer music lessons, we have ukulele club three times a week and do private one-on-one lessons. We also do stringed instrument repair and band instrument repair. We rent (public address) and sound systems out to people and we also do business installs, like repairing or putting in sound systems."
How long have you been in business?
This is going to be my 16th year in June. We started in 2002 in Alma, we did three years there before we moved to this location in Mount Pleasant. This used to be a bookstore, but we were able to expand the business into the whole shop, instead of just the half that we had before, which really opened up a lot of opportunities for us.
What inspired you to open the shop?
I worked for a music store in this building in 1998 for three years. I left when it sold to another owner, and then I decided to open a competing store in the industry. This will be my twentieth year in the music industry. I was good at it and people seemed to like what I was selling, so it just made sense.
How many people do you employ?
It used to just be me and a couple of other people working part-time, but now we’re up to 21 employees. We have 13 teachers, six people on the sales floor and some repairs staff.
Are you looking for more employees?
We are probably going to be hiring in the next few months. If anybody wants to work here, bring by a resume and fill out a short questionnaire. We’re going to be hiring for somebody that I can train to be a guitar (technician). I don’t need somebody who knows everything there is to know about it, because I would actually be the one teaching them how to be one, so I want someone hardworking with a good initiative.
What was business like for you last year?
Great — 2017 was our best year of business, and before that, 2016 was our best year for business, so we are looking to make 2018 another record-breaking year. We had a lot of growth last year, and we’re showing a lot of growth this year; we’re super strong. We are probably one of the strongest music stores in Michigan, if not farther than that.
Do you have any big plans, like developments or expansions, for the future?
Not in the very near future, we have been focused on expanding our inventory a lot recently. The vinyl records that we have are going to keep growing. We went from having only a couple hundred to now having more than 5,000. The record portion of the store is something that we have been taking very seriously over the last year.
I have some projects in the back of my mind to do in the next five years, but right now we’re just focusing on expanding what we’ve got in the store. The store is always improving; we try every day to make it permanently better. Whether it’s tweaking what we do, tweaking our inventory or better understanding what it is that the people want — we’re always improving.
How would you describe the atmosphere here?
I think it’s a pretty relaxed, fun atmosphere. We’re all laid-back, easy-going people. We have a lot of fun here, but we’re serious about trying to make people happy. We’re selling a feeling, so we try to make it a fun process.
What kind of reactions have you received from the community?
Our community has always been really good to us. There are a lot of relationships that, over the past few years, have grown much stronger, and we’ve been working on forming a lot of new ones. We’ve been branching out and doing a lot of music festivals lately, which has let us get a lot closer to the community and hang out with everybody and have a great time.
Also, we’ve got our (ukulele) club, where we take adults or children and we take them from zero (skills) to being able to proficiently play most songs you can find. We call it "ukulele karate." It’s once a week for about nine-to-10 weeks. It’s totally free, you don’t even have to bring an instrument, you just show up and work through songs. We have intermediate classes also, and it really brings everyone who loves the music together in a place they can connect with others.