Business Q&A with Music Man Bob Coffey
Bob Coffey talks about running a small business and School Band Tryout Day.
Bob Coffey, owner of Coffey Music, said he was "kind of thrown into the business" with no real vision of owning his own music store. But 28 years later, he continues to operate a store in Westminster that has served thousands of people who share his passion for music.
Coffey said he graduated from Towson State University with a degree in Music Education. He said he was searching for a teaching gig when he was fortunate enough to meet Claire Christy, owner of Christy Music, who asked Coffey to manage his music store. When Christy Music closed its doors, Coffey decided to open his own store.
When he's not selling instruments or showing musicians the latest recording equipment or working with music teachers, Coffey can often be found playing music. He plays in a local band called the Tom Garmin Band.
Coffey said that as a small business owner, his challenges include shrinking profits, increasing expenses and securing good employees.
Coffey Music, 31 East Main Street, will celebrate 28 years doing business in Westminster on Sept. 1. Want to hear more from one of Westminster's grooviest small business owners? Read on.
Patch: What was the hardest part of becoming a small business owner? The best part?
Coffey: It’s all very difficult, as there are so many “hats” to wear. With our shop, there is no ordinary day. The best part is seeing customer needs being met. We have tons of parents bringing in their kids to get their school band instruments who had gotten their instrument from us 20 years ago and most of them have a story!
Patch: What are the challenges of being a small business owner specifically in Westminster and/or Carroll County?
Coffey: The economy has cut into people's discretionary income, but amazingly enough, we are doing well. I think people are cautious about spending money, but they still are spending. Profits are shrinking and expenses are rising, so we have to work harder to make ends meet. Couple that with trying to get and keep good help, and you have pretty much summed up the challenges of a small business owner.
Patch: Do you think the economy and/or advances in technology have aided or hurt your business?
Coffey: I think a lot of folks will actually turn to music when things are tough, so in some respects the economy isn’t hurting us. Technology is great for our customers--I mean you can now purchase a hand-held recorder for $200 that probably is more powerful than the recording gear that the Beatles used! The web has to keep us on our toes as far as being competitive and knowing our gear. It’s important for us not to give our customers a reason to shop the web.
Patch: What's next for you/your business?
Coffey: We are frequently offering clinics and seminars at our store as well as a Bluegrass jam Session (1st & 3rd Friday of the month, not including September). On Sept. 8, we will be hosting our School Band Tryout Day. It’s a great event for the 4th grader looking to join the band. We are also starting group violin lessons and a Rock Boot Camp Class.
To learn more about Coffey Music, visit www.coffeymusic.com.
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