By Michelle Loeb
When Gabriel O’Brien first joined the payroll as a cashier at Wooster OH’s Larry’s Music Center in 2001, he brought along a valuable perspective—that of the customer. “I was a customer of the store long before I was ever hired,” said O’Brien, who plays guitar, as well as some banjo and mandolin. “Every instrument I’ve ever bought has come from this store.”
Perhaps that explains why customer service is such a big part not only of O’Brien’s job, but also of the culture and philosophy at Larry’s Music Center. “The biggest thing we can do is interact with each customer on a personal level…never to be too busy, always to do as much as we can for people,” said O’Brien. He said his job, first and foremost, is to oversee sales at the store, “which means I get to spend most of my time in direct contact with our customers. I try my hardest to interact with each and every one of them, and to make them feel like a part of our musical family. That’s what my job has always been and what our whole staff does.”
Larry’s Music Center
302 E. Liberty St.
Wooster, Ohio 44691
Mon-Fri 10am – 8pm
Sat-Sun 10am – 5pm
Gabriel O’Brien, Sales Manage
O’Brien wears many hats at the store, where he now serves as Sales Manager, including managing relationships with manufacturers, sitting in on meetings with reps, and even doing basic guitar repairs and some restringing. Every job he takes on leads him directly back to the invaluable customer service that’s been a part of Larry’s Music Center since the store first opened as a band and orchestra shop in 1979, with Founder Larry Lang as its only employee. The store has been a mainstay of the community ever since, growing so much that it moved to a new location eight years ago that virtually doubled its size. Last May, Larry’s Music Center opened a second location 25 miles south in Millersburg OH. They now have seven full-time employees and two part-time employees, including Brad Shreve, who purchased the business in 2011.
“Truthfully, I’ve learned most of what I do from Brad and from being here every day,” said O’Brien. “We try hard to have fun and be the best at what we do. We’re lucky to get to work at such a cool job and, although not every day is a homerun in any workplace, we focus on the fact that this is really fun. We get to help people find instruments that they love and get to make music with. How cool is that?”
That sense of fun is also part of what draws customers to Larry’s Music Center, which prides itself on being “Ohio’s coolest indie music store.” (continue reading)