Music Retailer and NAMM Member Celebrating Milestone Anniversary at The NAMM Show
Huber Breese Music will celebrate its golden anniversary at The 2022 NAMM Show. Founder Paul Huber will attend The NAMM Milestone Awards, which takes place only at The NAMM Show in Anaheim, California, June 3-5.
The annual NAMM Milestone Awards recognize Members who have made lasting contributions to the music products industry as they celebrate landmark anniversaries. The celebration culminates with NAMM CEO and President Joe Lamond and Music Historian Dan Del Fiorentino presenting the award at The NAMM Show. Each year, honorees are recognized at the NAMM U Breakfast session and commended for their generations of impact on the industry. “Showcasing more than just staying power, the companies that receive the NAMM Milestone Award often attribute their longevity to their active interest in their local communities and supporting music education. We are proud to honor them as we recognize their contributions to bringing music to the world,” says Del Fiorentino.
2022 marks the 50th anniversary for Huber Breese Music, and the retailer is ready to celebrate at The NAMM Show. In 1972, the brick-and-mortar store opened its doors to the community of Fraser, Michigan. The retail store specializes in electric and acoustic guitars, amplifiers and cabinets, drums and percussion, keyboards, folk instruments, and pro audio gear.
Huber and Breese first met in 1968 when Huber took a position at Mt. Clemens Music teaching guitar alongside Breese, who was teaching percussion. To test the resolve of their students, the store would provide aspiring guitarists with an instrument, and at the end of eight weeks, if they stuck with it, the store would then encourage students to purchase their own guitar.
After graduating from a year-long course on the art of guitar instruction from his mentor, Joyce Lucido, Huber took a position, and he and Breese became fast friends and bandmates. The duo would teach all day and gig at night, and in 1972, the store faced a daunting rent increase and was forced to close. Finding himself out of a job, Huber mentioned to Breese that he was thinking of finding his own space to continue teaching. Enthused by the prospect of continuing teaching, Breese joined Huber as the pair secured a small, 800-square-foot building. After some savvy negotiation with the current owner, the former laundromat became home to the pair’s new studio.
In just 24 hours, Breese and Huber enlisted the help of their band’s bass player and his brother and quickly erected four teaching rooms. On May 15, 1972, approximately 95% of the students from Mt. Clemens Music followed the teachers, and Huber Breese Music was officially open. After a year of operations, there was an opportunity to expand, and the pair decided to knock out an adjoining wall to make a band room and retail space.
Huber spearheaded the retail efforts starting with a small stock of strings, picks, and a few guitars, purchased from another local store. Within three months of beginning their retail efforts, Huber was grossing well over $3,000, an impressive feat for 90 days of receiving their first stock. By 1977, the team’s landlord offered to sell the building to the musical operation and expanded to add a second story, nearly doubling its square footage to approximately 3,200 square feet. Lesson participation continued to grow, and eventually, Huber Breese counted about 600 students enrolled in their programs.
The owners pulled themselves up by their bootstraps to achieve their dream, opening a music studio and retail space that now hosts over 1,000 guitars, over 50 drum sets, amplifiers, a full line of audio products, and keyboards, an instrument rental department, and 600 students. While Breese passed away just shy of the store’s 38th anniversary, Huber reflected on his keen business skills, saying, “We weathered many recessions and downturns because Terry kept a conservative approach to finances. I believe I drove him off the cliff a few times with the cost of my guitar orders.”
While Huber is still involved in the business, he has taken a step back, employing his son Hans, who has worked at the store for the past 23 years, to take the reins. Hans said, “I did feel the pressure to uphold the store's reputation as I started to work full-time. Today, I am more aware of my strong suits, and I invest in people that possess the passions and talents that I lack and therefore make the store more balanced than ever before. We are just getting started after 50 years, and I am looking forward to continuing to uplift our community and society through our services.”
The father and son team is excited to travel to Anaheim to receive their Milestone Award. “I remember going to Chicago for our first show and Gibson bringing Les Paul and Howard Roberts. We have met so many wonderful artists through the years, and we are ready to get back to the show and experience that once again,” says Huber.
For more information from Huber and Breese, please visit https://huberbreese.com/. Register for The NAMM Show at https://registration.namm.org/wn22/register?ms=nammorg_attend and attend the Breakfast of Champions, where the Milestone Awards will be presented on Saturday, June 4 at 8:00 a.m. inside the Hilton, Level 2, Pacific Ballroom.