Trev Brown

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Trevor Brown’s lifelong passion for music is so prevailing, he believes if everyone played music in some form, then Australia’s national mental health bill would be much smaller!

 

 

Taree-located music megastore, Bass ‘n’ Blues, is the largest regional dealership in New South Wales, boasting a diverse range of products and services.

The shop was started from scratch in 1994 by husband and wife duet, Trevor and Tanya Brown. Over the years, Bass ‘n’ Blues has continued to expand and last year upsized for a third time to incorporate a bigger shop space for stock display.

Trevor Brown’s lifelong passion for music is so prevailing, he believes if everyone played music in some form, then Australia’s national mental health bill would be much smaller!

FOCUS caught up with Trevor to talk shop.
What advice would you give to someone wishing to open a music store today?

Start with a passion for the industry you’re entering. Without passion, the demands of running a retail business will soon wear you down. We don’t get to stand around all day playing vintage guitars. If we get to touch them at all, it’s because we are cleaning and tuning them!
Tell us about some of the challenges of running a retail business?

Retail is very challenging, and the internet has changed the landscape forever. Our display space may decrease over the next 10 years, but for now it’s a matter of making the most of every square inch of floor and wall space.

No retail business can survive and grow without an internet presence. The biggest percentage of users on our website are local customers who do research during lunch hours and access the store after hours to check prices and features. The internet has allowed us to expand our customer base to include the entire north coast and to sell goods all over Australia.
Music instrument shops are sometimes referred to as authorised dealer showrooms – yes?

We would agree with that. The advantage we have over retailers who only have an internet presence is that we offer our customer the entire retail experience. They can hear and feel how the instrument will perform when they are playing it. Big brands are only sold through authorised dealers, and we offer full back-up and warranty services.
What’s a good in-store balance between vintage and contemporary instruments and stocking a variety of merchandise?

Our stock holding is an ever evolving and challenging aspect of the business. The industry is always changing with new technologies and products. Being a regional store, we have to be more to more people. In metropolitan areas, a music store can specialise in vintage instruments, or music technology, to give them an edge. We have to provide everything – instruments for the professional player, working muso, music teacher, student, parent, mature aged musician and the early childhood student.
How knowledgeable should staff be for music aficionados?

You can’t work in sales in a music store and not be a muso. You have to share the passion to understand why we do what we do. We get excited over a guitar that has an amazing sunburst finish and costs $5,000 to own it. You have to have the passion to be able to share it with others, and that’s what all of our staff try and do. We know how much fun it is to stand up on a stage playing music to a crowd who sings along with every line, and we want to share that joy with others.
Tell us about the music lessons and teaching side of the business?

Tanya had established this business before we opened the store, and we have both taught at our school over the years. Music education is the foundation of our business. If we didn’t encourage people to learn music, then our customer base would dry up very quickly.

Many of our students are now music teachers or professional musicians. We have some amazing music teachers in our area.
Lots of children dream of becoming a famous Rock star. What instrument do you advise children to start playing on?

Piano is a great foundation for all young students, although ACDC just doesn’t sound the same on a keyboard! Many young guitarists come in and we ask the same question every time: “Who is it that makes you want to play guitar?” The answer is always, “Angus!” It’s cute to see them proudly pull off their first ACDC riff on a guitar. We have to remind them that they weren’t the first generation to discover Bon Scott!
Bass ‘n’ Blues is renowned for community events. How important is it for you to be involved in the community?

We would be involved in the community, even if we weren’t in business. We would like our children to grow up with a strong sense of community obligation and belonging. The music community is exceptional at getting together to support a cause. We’ve raised money for floods, bushfires and cyclones and for a local muso who lost all of his gear in a shed fire. Ultimately, it’s the right thing to do.

Thanks Trevor.


 

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