Geauga County Public Library: When was Geauga Music Center founded?
Anne Marie Wolf: Established as Geauga Music in 2006, but as we are the perpetuation of Village Studios and The Village Music Shop we were originally founded in 1974 – which makes this year 45!
GCPL: What is the story behind your business? How did it begin? What challenges did you face in getting started & how did you overcome them? What challenges do you face in your day-to-day operations, and how do you overcome them? What is your favorite part of owning a business?
AMW: What’s our story? It’s a good one! I am the Fourth owner and have taken lessons during or taught for all of the previous owners’ tenure. We were started by Bill and JoAnna Rudy to fill the void after Zamer’s Music closed. We have always worked to stay on trend and evolve to the needs of the community. Back in the day, we used to offer dance and acting classes! As Geauga Lyric Theater Guild became more active and the local dance studio grew, we turned our focus to music.
Our challenges are finding spectacular teachers, being versatile while maintaining expertise, and for me, covering all of the tasks of running a business. My favorite part of owning a business is the variety the business includes. No day is the same as the one before it. My favorite part of owning my business? Relationships. I very much enjoy being a part of the lives of my teachers, my students, and every musician who walks through our door. I try to get to know everyone so that I can help them on their musical journey and they can make the most out of their musicianship. Seeing a student grow and succeed is very rewarding. Having that student come back as an adult to brush up or learn a new instrument is absolutely amazing. Seeing a student return with their own children because they trust us to set their child on the best musical path is priceless.
GCPL: Why did you decide to start your business? What inspired it?
AMW: I decided to take over from the previous owner to keep this resource available to the community. Having a quality music store in Chardon was crucial to my development as a musician and I couldn’t imagine not having that resource available to future generations.
GCPL: What kinds of training and education did starting your business require (College, trade shows, seminars/conferences, etc.)? Have you ever used the library to help with this?
AMW: As far as training and education, I certainly feel that having a college education in music and all that experience that came along with that education has been crucial, as it has allowed me be to knowledgeable in my field and best relate to my customers. Attending trade shows was very enlightening in terms of products and brands that we could offer, NAMM also offers the Idea Center which allows industry leaders from across the nation to share ideas that have worked for them. I wish that I had been able to do some classes in accounting, bookkeeping, and the like. Having spent my high school years working at the Chardon Library, I know that my library is always there to help me with resources and I look forward to using Lynda to boost my skills.
GCPL: What resources did/do you find most useful in helping you to start, grow, and maintain your business (Books, software, training materials, databases, etc.)?
AMW: I have found that many of the speakers and special programs the library offers have been very helpful. Programming like social media, publishing, writing, photography, gardening are all a part of maintaining and growing. Also staying informed about programs that may be of interest to our students and parents.
GCPL: What advice do you have for people who want to start a business?
AMW: There are so many resources available to new business owners. Don’t try to figure anything out for yourself! It takes more time and you are likely to make a mistake or uninformed decision that will cost you in time or money down the line. Use your library resources, join organizations like Red Key or Leadership Geauga. If you are of a certain age you should also contact the Chesterland Innovation Center!
GCPL: Finally, as a way for our readers to get to know you more personally, please provide the title of a book, movie, or album that you have read/watched/listened to recently that you would like to recommend. This does not have to be directly related to your business.
AMW: Well, I’m definitely hooked on all things Outlander. Very thankful for Diana Gabaldon! My most recent book series that I’ve read is from Ohio author, Addie J. King, called The Grimm Legacy. Unfortunately, her books are not offered in our library system, yet. For one you can read through our Library or Libby, try the Cat in a… series by Carole Nelson Douglas! Stop by the shop to learn why that one is of interest. For music, I’ve been studying Big Band/Jazz ever since Polar Vortex started this winter, so I would recommend the album Atomic Basie. It’s available on Hoopla!