Music Retail

Ken Hyams was a key franchise owner of Altec Lansing in the early days of consumer electronics. He worked for a Los Angeles retailer for audio, consumer-electronic, products in the late 1940s and 1950s. While witnessing the growth and development of the audio industry, particularly with products...
Howard Reitzes was brought up on classical piano but found a true passion for playing when he discovered the Blues. After trying his hand at the guitar, Howard fell in love with keyboards when he saved up and purchased a Vox Super Continental Keyboard. At 15, he put together his first Blues band...
Les Brazil’s first retail job was in Manchester, United Kingdom in 1966 when he was just 15, at a shop called Reno’s. Reno was a famous violin player that worked with the likes of Stephan Grapelli in the 30’s. After a few years of working at Reno’s, Les was also doing an apprenticeship as a welding...
Sonny Wittkopp studied business in college and landed a job as a bookkeeper for a local music store in Washington state. This experience generated a great passion for the music industry which resulted in Sonny opening the Hammond Organ Studios of Spokane in 1962. The store grew along with the home...
Normalu Cooper was inspired by her piano teachers as a young girl so she eventually began providing lessons in her father’s piano store when she was a teenager. Like her father, Normalu went on to have a long career in piano retail in Washington and, also like her father, she played the organ for...
Moze Mossay was given a guitar as a gift from his father when he was a kid and he fell in love with the instrument. Moze sought to understand all elements of the guitar and soon found himself taking the instrument apart and putting it back together. Over the years, he studied the many instruments...
Mario Ortigara joined his brother’s music store just two years after it opened. Since 1949, Mario worked alongside his brother Ben who started the store to teach and sell accordions. By 1959, their sister, Mary, joined the team and years later both of Ben’s sons, Mike and Dan, came on board. The...
Mary Ortigara has always had a deep passion for education and was even an English major at Xavier College. After graduation in the late 1950s, she began working in her brother’s music store providing accordion lessons. She soon expanded the lesson program within the store to include other...
Mike Ortigara runs the piano repair and restoration branch of the store his father Ben opened in 1947. Ben opened an accordion store in Chicago which expanded overtime to include pianos, organs, and a well-respected lesson program. When Mike came into the business he focused on the repairs and...
Doug Davies entered the music products industry in 1972 when he was hired by Turner Music in Canada. Turner was a subsidiary of Chicago Musical Instruments (CMI) and at the time, Doug was their youngest sales rep.  He really enjoyed the job as he had a supportive mentor to help him learn the ropes...

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