You’d be forgiven for not being well-versed in the musical heritage of St. Charles, Missouri, which sits just across the Missouri River from St. Louis. Music Go Round franchisee Jerry Coughlin is happy to fill you in on the details.
He fondly recalls a story he heard from an REO Speedwagon band member and former teenage bandmate of Michael McDonald, a St. Louis-area local and member of The Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan. When McDonald’s mother announced to his bandmates that he was leaving for California, the rest of the band burst into tears realizing it was the end of their tenure.
Jerry has also seen members of Survivor, Aerosmith and Black Sabbath come through the doors of his Music Go Round location.
However, Jerry isn’t the type to get starstruck. When he worked in the marketing department of a toy company, he regularly ran into celebrities, especially at events held in New York City. The list of stars he’s met includes Tony Danza, Matthew Perry, Matthew Broderick and Paula Abdul.
Ultimately, Jerry retired from his marketing and advertising career and remained retired for roughly a year before looking into opening his own music shop.
Retirement didn’t exactly sit well with him – not too surprising coming from someone who has learned to play the saxophone, flute, guitar, mandolin, ukulele and keyboards.
“I’m not the kind of person who likes to sit still much,” Jerry explained with a chuckle.
There was an existing Music Go Round not far from where Jerry lived, and he was a frequent customer.
“I’d been thinking about opening a store of my own called ‘Jerry’s,’ but after looking into Music Go Round, it made much more sense to use their expertise rather than going in blind,” he said.
Helping a Customer’s Career Skyrocket
Some people open businesses to pursue wealth. Others are driven by the challenge of building something from the ground up. And for another group of people, business ownership is wholly a passion project, and that’s exactly why Jerry brought Music Go Round to his hometown.
When he opened his Music Go Round franchise in 2018, he almost immediately had an opportunity to foster the development of a young, local musician.
When Ruby Leigh Pearson bought an acoustic guitar from him a little more than a year ago, he didn’t expect she’d eventually become a sponsored recording artist. At that time, she was getting ready to attend an international arts festival to represent the U.S. in Germany.
Ruby was raising money for the event and took the opportunity to play an old Hank Williams song for Jerry.
“I was completely blown away,” Jerry recalled. “So, I donated $500 to help with her airfare to go compete at the festival, where she won several gold medals.”
Since then, she’s won an annual contest held by Dolly Parton and shared the stage with country music heavyweights like Mickey Gilley and Vince Gill. And she’s accomplished all of this by the age of 12.
A video published to Jerry’s Music Go Round Facebook page has garnered more than 16,000 views, which Jerry mentioned is significantly more than any of the other content he’s shared online.
“It’s just been an absolute pleasure to watch her progress,” he said.
Getting Out in Front of His Guests
Jerry’s been able to foster relationships with musicians within the community largely because of the support offered by his son, who works on much of the marketing and manages the back office.
“It’s just been a joy working with musicians – working hard,” Jerry said. “And I think people like working with the owner. You never get that when you go into a Guitar Center.”
The majority of business Jerry sees comes in through foot traffic, while an average of 13 percent of his business is online. At the same time, there are customers who find the instruments they want online, show Jerry the picture and he finds it for them in stores – reflecting a strong trend toward webrooming, or shopping online before purchasing in store, for higher-priced goods.
Long term, Jerry has plans to purchase a larger brick-and-mortar space and move from his 4,500-square-foot space. So far, he’s followed the business model and has grown at a pace that exceeded his expectations.
Are you looking for a way to channel your passion for music through business ownership? Learn more about franchising with Music Go Round by visiting our website here.