The year was 2012. Brett Mulzer, an accomplished musician and music instructor, had been operating a world-class recording studio in a small town about an hour east of Evansville IN since 2005, and he decided to move his studio, and his family, to the city, where approximately 80 percent of his clients lived. Mulzer’s search for a building into which to move the studio led him to the news that local music store owner Pat Moore was going to retire and sell his building. Mulzer knew the store well, having bought his first guitar and drum set at Moore Music back in the 1980s. So, he decided not only to open his recording studio in the building, but also to become the successor to the Moore Music legacy.

“Pat decided to downsize and stay because his passion for helping people with their musical purchases hadn’t quite run dry,” said Mulzer. “So, we coexisted happily for about six months until he decided that he wanted to hang up his hat and teach drums only. And in June of 2012, I took over the store and there we were. No retail experience whatsoever…but I knew I could learn with Pat’s help.”

Not having a background in retail, and facing the specter of a Guitar Center store one mile away, Mulzer needed the support of a local legend like Moore. He also surrounded himself with other knowledgeable musicians who had both retail experience and a good track record of employment in the industry. After having begun with a few employees who had “a solid history” with the store, the staff has not only grown from three to 11 people in the intervening years but also remained consistent throughout.

“I’ve only lost one employee who didn’t work out. I’m very proud of that,” said Mulzer. “I always hated going into music stores and seeing the revolving door of salesmen. Most of the time, they were under-qualified, as well. So, turnover was a concept that couldn’t reside in my store,” he continued. “The most important thing is that our customers subconsciously are enjoying that stability, too.”

Mulzer’s customers are clearly enjoying many things about the Moore Music experience, as the store has grown considerably since 2012, both in terms of the number of lines it carries and the amount of square footage it takes up. When Mulzer first took over, it was a 3,000-square-foot store with 28 guitars, five or six tube amps and four drum sets.

Along with the store, the building housed 11 lesson rooms, a 2,900-square-foot recording studio called 77 Recording and an additional 6,000 square feet of commercial warehouse space that was rented to a lawn-care service. Fast-forward to early 2014 and, according to Mulzer, “As we were about to burst at the seams, we decided to throw in all our chips and expand to make use of the whole building.”

Mulzer and his team began the “huge undertaking” of moving his recording studio to another part of the building. In its place, Mulzer dedicated a room to high-end, American-made acoustics, as well as creating another showroom for drum sets, snares and cymbals. The building also houses a climate-controlled storage facility for the new gear that comes in, plus a 90-seat performance venue for hosting clinics with such luminaries as Tommy Aldridge, Shawn Drover, Raul Rekow, Karl Perazzo and Paul Reed Smith.

In addition to the full-building expansion, the past year has seen a host of new and exciting developments for the store. This past November, Moore Music’s online sales department developed a new, in-depth customer-service capability. “Through video and sound sampling of every specific acoustic guitar above a certain price level, as well as photos and sound samples of every cymbal over a certain price point, we will give consumers peace of mind that they’ve never had before,” said Mulzer, who added he still hopes to hire a few more employees to solidify the background of the online department.

Mulzer also announced that Moore Music has collaborated with Evansville Music Academy to offer a full-service lesson program at the store. He estimates that the partnership will bring approximately 175 students into the store on a weekly basis.

“Evansville Music Academy is a very well known music lesson program that features some of the area’s best teachers and a very professional learning system,” said Mulzer, whose store also offers free lessons with the purchase of certain products. “We are very excited about all the positive vibes they are bringing to the store.”

For a guy who started out with no experience in selling musical instruments, Mulzer has done an amazing job of not only maintaining the original glory of Moore Music, but also expanding the store’s presence in terms of its scope, services offered, online presence and community outreach. And that’s exactly what he originally set out to do back in 2012.

“I purchased the store with a focus mainly on customer service and bringing the community of Evansville and neighboring areas the coolest guitar, amp and drum shop they’ve ever seen,” Mulzer said. “We don’t really concern ourselves with what the local competition is doing; we just make sure that every customer who walks in our door feels comfortable, whether that person has spent $0 or $10,000.”

He continued, “We would like to continue our growth in the future, obviously, but our main focus is not to lose our roots in amazing customer service. Our main focus is to develop relationships so we can best help our customer with their musical needs.”

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