Businesses come and go as styles fade, interests change and people’s needs continue to evolve. What worked yesterday for small business owners might not be as effective today. Downtown businesses such as Allen Music have managed to endure in spite of the many challenges facing small businesses today
Having withstood economic challenges and changing customer demands the shop celebrates its thirty fifth anniversary downtown this year. Boyce and Brandon Allen, a father and son duo, are humble, hard-working men who have found ways to adapt to an ever-changing economy while still holding true to what sets their business apart from the competition—true customer service. Allen Music sells and repairs guitars and other musical equipment. They have 400 guitars in stock. They offer music lessons to all ages and from time to time you might even find Boyce repairing a sewing machine brought in by a loyal customer who remembers the early days of Allen Music when Mama Allen ran a sewing machine and music business downtown during the 1960s and 70s.
Allen Music serves as a regional hub for musicians in Western Kentucky. Occasionally a traveling musician, performing at The Carson Center, will stop in for a visit. The shop is never lacking for visitors and doesn’t have any trouble finding repeat customers.
In fact, customer service is a driving force behind the success Allen Music sees today. Closing the sale is only the beginning of the relationship they establish with their customers. They continue to provide first-rate service long after the purchase has been made. They strive to go above and beyond their customers’ expectations.
Clearly it’s working! Thirty five years later the family business continues to grow as Allen Music now encompasses four storefronts along Kentucky Avenue from 211-17, just around the corner from Market House Square. This summer the buildings will receive a facelift, further improving the look of Paducah’s award-winning Renaissance Area.
Boyce took over the music shop in 1976 from his mother and eventually turned the reins over to Brandon in 1998. Brandon and Boyce continue to work side by side--Brandon handling the day to day operations and Boyce turning his attention to sales and repair work behind the scenes.
Although, Brandon is now president of the company, he says that Boyce continues to be the face of Allen Music. He credits everything he’s learned to Boyce, having been mentored by Boyce all of his life.
|Boyce and Brandon Allen, owners of Allen Music
Brandon learned how to balance family obligations with his business by watching his father keep those two priorities in the right order. He learned how to be reliable, trustworthy and committed, both personally and professionally. In fact, Boyce and Cheryl Allen have demonstrated commitment throughout their 42 years of marriage.
Brandon speaks boldly about the value of faith—something Boyce and Cheryl taught their children from a young age. The Allens believe strongly that their success in business comes because they trust God to provide for their needs daily. Brandon learned the value of honesty and integrity as he watched Boyce deal with even the most difficult of customers with patience and kindness.
When asked what advice they would offer to budding entrepreneurs their response was simple.
“Treat others like you want to be treated. Treat each customer like they have a million dollars because one day they might,” said Brandon. “People like to be appreciated. Don’t ever take advantage of people.”
Brandon also encourages new business owners to invest wisely, not spending more than they can afford to lose on starting their venture. He encourages them to diversify their business so that they can evolve with the changing needs and the fluctuating economy. He’s an advocate of word of mouth advertising and encourages entrepreneurs to provide services to their customers that are worth talking about.
Allen Music is open Monday, Tuesday and Thursday through Saturday. The shop is closed on Wednesdays and Sundays. Being musicians themselves, Boyce and Brandon provide musical expertise to both professional and aspiring musicians. You might even see Boyce playing with his band, Vintage Alley at Downtown after Dinner this summer.
For more information on products and services please visit Allen Music in their shop or visit their store online at www.allenmusicshop.com.
By Jessica Perkins