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Here is a company I trust when it comes to getting your child involved with their first musical instrument, and encouragement toward a lifetime of interest in music: SUMMERHAYS MUSIC in Murray, and Layton.
“They really want to make sure each student has a good music education.”
– Bret Hughes, Park City Schools Band Director
“We want to plant the seed to create the music experience for the rest of a student’s life.” Those are the words of SUMMERHAYS MUSIC general manager Cris Behrens, expressing his company’s dedication to the students and music programs around Utah. “We prefer to be the beginning of a music experience that will develop and grow for the next 50 plus years.”
“Yep, they’re not just about selling instruments,” says Park City Schools band teacher Bret Hughes. Bret says he’s been inviting SUMMERHAYS MUSIC to their school for many years. “They really want to make sure each student has a good music education.”
For one student who has turned professional, the love of playing music is partly credited to SUMMERHAYS MUSIC. “I started with a clarinet 10 years ago,” says former music student Dallas Crane. “Then I wanted to switch over to another instrument, and it was really easy [at Summerhays]. They just gave me credit for the time I had the clarinet, and I went on to purchase another instrument. In fact, my family has probably gone through 10 instruments trading, with credit, at Summerhays. We could never have afforded to buy all those instruments.”
That is precisely the atmosphere company owners say they foster in their stores. It begins with the rent-to-own policy involving zero fees, and zero interest rate. “Many parents and their children don’t really know if a particular instrument is going to stick. So, we rent-to-own an instrument, but there are no fees and no interest rate. Very simply, when all payments have been made, the instrument is paid for, and the customer owns it.
“On the other hand, if, in 90 days, a student decides he or she does not like that instrument, just bring it back and we’ll get them another instrument, and give full credit for whatever has been paid on the old instrument in the past 90 days toward their next instrument. Or, if they decide they don’t want to play at all, just bring the instrument back, and there are no further charges.”
SUMMERHAYS MUSIC has been around since 1936, and our investigation found that the company dedication is expressed in the company being named a top company in the United States year after year by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) (https://www.namm.org/summer/2017/articles/top-100-dealers-announced). The award is judged by a panel of impartial expert judges not affiliated with NAMM. Each year, those judges, in essence, look for customer satisfaction.**
“They have a really generous trade-back program,” says band director Bret Hughes. “Let’s say a student buys an instrument and wants to progress in music. Summerhays will take the instrument back in trade, and place the student in an upgraded instrument.”
Further, SUMMERHAYS MUSIC president Scott Summerhays says the quality of the instrument they put into a student’s hands is critical. “We want students to have the best quality,” says Scott. “If a student struggles with a poor quality instrument, it may not be their fault that they quit…it might be the instrument’s.”
“The instrument must stay in tune,” adds Cris. “It must play right. Good equipment for a better experience. We don’t want to lose a musician because of a poor quality instrument.”
“The whole store is very ‘player-centric,’” says Dallas Crane. “We’ve gone in there just to pick an instrument off the wall, and play it. They encourage that. They let you do your thing in the practice rooms, and if you buy it, that’s okay. If you walk out, that’s okay, too.”
“They pay for professional musicians to come in…”
– Bret Hughes
Beyond their business, Summerhays prides itself in being involved in the community as music education advocates. “We send employees to schools around the state to work with band directors, music teachers, and students,” Scott tells me. Band teacher Bret Hughes says he loves that service: “They’ll call and ask if they need to pick up any instruments to be repaired, or if any need to be dropped off. It’s a really human based business. They’re really here to help you as a person.”
Finally, here’s something everyone talked about: Summerhays Outreach Program. “We bring in artists to work with students at schools,” Scott says.
“Oh, yes they do,” said Brett Hughes. “They pay for professional musicians to come in. Then, they schedule clinics at schools around the state and invite music students to attend and learn from these professionals. They bring them in from Los Angeles, or New York, or anywhere else to put on these clinics for students. It’s really great.”
“We just don’t want to lose any musicians.”
– Cris Behrens, General Manager, Summerhays Music
So, there you go: SUMMERHAYS MUSIC. Now you know what I found out about this company through our investigation and our interview process. Now you know why I trust and endorse this company, and why I am proud to declare SUMMERHAYS MUSIC GEPHARDT APPROVED.
**NAMM criteria for judging United States music dealers:
1) Show a clear understanding that the success of a retail store is directly related to customer satisfaction
2) Provide a retail experience worth returning for and recommending others to
3) Design a floor plan, merchandising, and marketing that encourages repeat sales
4) Prepare for future success with sound planning, marketing, and training initiatives
5) Use the web and social media in engaging, effective ways.
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