Back in the fall of 2016, I spent a most enjoyable day at Muncie Music with owner Dave Helms. I was warmly welcomed by the staff while Dave was on the road calling on band directors. When he later arrived, I was able to capture four interviews including one with him and his longest-running employee, Joan (pronounced Jo-Ann) White. She started working in the store to straighten the sheet music at the age of 14 in 1944 and retired just a few months ago. It was delightful to hang out and get to know the staff.
Witnessing the flow of the store and several interesting highlights such as the design, made me really appreciate the thought put into the store design. Among the more fascinating elements that got my attention is the way the lesson program operates, the ease for which the parents can address the rental counter and the clever visibility of the band instrument repairs (not hidden in the back of the store behind storage boxes but right on the other side of a large viewing window).
A big part of their business is calling on schools and to foster enthusiasm among students, Dave has posted the names of each school, with its colors, on the wall right next to a real working scoreboard. It's a clever idea that works. Just in the time I was there three different students took time to locate their school's banner and to point it out to their parents. One saying loudly, "Look up there mom, they help my school!"
They have the advantage of a new store, it was built in 2013, but more than that, Muncie Music seems really on the ball and eager to serve all those who walk into the store. The store is a wonderful example of the passion in our business, something we can all be proud of.
Dan Del Fiorentino
NAMM Music Historian