23/07/2008 - 22:00

New owners fine tune music business

23/07/2008 - 22:00

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After buying a small, underperforming musical instrument retail and tuition business, Joondalup Music Centre, ten years ago, husband and wife team Peter and Genelle Picton-King now operate in three locations.

After buying a small, underperforming musical instrument retail and tuition business, Joondalup Music Centre, ten years ago, husband and wife team Peter and Genelle Picton-King now operate in three locations.

Outgrowing its original location almost 18 months ago, Mrs Picton-King said the time had come to expand the retail arm of the business by opening a larger store.

"I think we definitely needed a big store up this way and there were also rumblings in the industry that a couple of the bigger competitors were also going to come up here as well," Mrs Picton-King said.

"We thought if there is going to be a bigger store here, it's going to be us."

Keeping the tuition side of the business at its original location, the new store caters solely for the retail and repair of musical instruments.

Mrs Picton-King said it was important to move at the right time in order to capitalise on Christmas trade.

"We wanted to open before Christmas, so we opened in November and we got that really strong Christmas trade to sure us up. It was a really good time to do it," Mrs Picton said.

Starting from humble beginnings, the couple purchased the bankrupt business in January 1999. Today, it employs around 55 staff and has expanded to provide both retail and tuition.

"It was a little bankrupt business and my husband Pete, who was working as a policeman but was also doing a few repairs for different music shops around the place, came home saying 'that place has got so much potential up there but they're not running it properly', and sure enough it went bankrupt," Mrs Picton-King said.

"I said 'well lets put in a silly offer and see what happens', so we did and they accepted it. Suddenly we had a music store."

Mrs Picton-King, who previously worked in retail and administration, said that while her husband had experience in the technical side of music, starting small allowed them to learn and grow as the business did.

"The beauty of it was that it was such a tiny little store with literally nothing there and we were able to learn as the business grew," Mrs Picton-King said.

Mrs Picton-King believes that it is this organic growth that has led to the company's success, with a focus on customer service and quality staff allowing it to compete with larger competitors.

"I think our strength, right from the beginning and up until now, is that we really had a strong customer focus," Mrs Picton-King said.

"So when that customer walked in the door, they were looked after, and I think that tended to save us, because the biggest store in WA [Kosmic in Osborne Park] was down the road

"We feel that we've employed good-hearted people and they've all brought their own knowledge to us as well, knowledge that we didn't have.

"It's very much a democracy here, and everyone has their own specialised area and they get their input into the business. We've got really good people working for us, we'd be nothing without them."

While running both a retail and tuition business can at times be quite chaotic, Mrs Picton-King says that both arms are important to the company's growth and success.

"That has been absolutely integral to the business. It's really challenging because you've got a lot of people that you're juggling, as far as the teachers, students and parents but it's been massively advantageous...and it feeds each other," Mrs Picton King said.

With the new store in Joondalup continuing to grow, Mrs Picton-King said her attention would now be focused on the four-year-old Mindarie store, Mindarie Music Centre.

"That's our new focus now, it was almost a little before its time up there but we wanted to establish ourselves," Mrs Picton-King said.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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