Idaho Falls

Nov./Dec. 2011

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by the Chesbros' own admission, the music instrument industry is small by many stan- dards, comprised more of family businesses like Chesbro Music—a poster child of the American family success story. "We have a great bunch of employees here," Wilson says. "We have pro musicians who know what they're doing, especially on the retail side. In music, your sales people have to be knowledgeable experts, or it just doesn't work. We also have a new, relative- ly young marketing team that really focuses on the upcoming generation of musicians." At the head of that team is Marketing Director Corey Kerr, a self-admitted new- bie compared to much of the company's established workforce. "In fact, most of us in marketing have been here less than four years," he said. "When I first came on, it was easy to see that Chesbro was a strong company, and its main strength was its agility to solve deal- ers' problems. We're not a gigantic corpo- rate conglomerate. We don't have a tiered structure with bosses of bosses of bosses," Kerr said. "We've developed an effective drop-ship program, and a system where everything can be handled in one phone call." Kerr led us on an exhaustive tour through 42 Idaho Falls MagazIne Nov/dec 2011 the Chesbro property, including towering walls of boxed-up instruments, a labyrinth of meticulously organized sheet music and dedicated departments for sales and cus- tomer service. "The retail industry is always changing, so we make an effort in the marketing and sales department to be really cutting edge on what's going on so we can be the infor- mative experts for our customers," he said. "Chesbro also has the distinction of directly managing some of the major brands that it carries," notes Benson Taylor, Internet and e-Marketing Manager. "For example we created a brand called 'eleuke.' It's an electronic ukelele. We designed a mascot, logo, style sheets, color schemes- -everything. This is something we do for a number of brands." Another hot brand they've developed is Teton Guitars, which have earned Kudos from numerous circles since their debut in industry shows this year. Each guitar fea- tures either a solid spruce or cedar top, and mahogany, ovangkol, walnut, or rosewood back and sides. The Teton line-up includes pure acoustics, acoustic electrics with cut a-ways and classical guitars. They range in price from $299 to $499. For its centennial celebration, the com- pany kicked things off last year with a big employee party and followed up with a series of great deals in its "100-day pro- motion," as well as some big specials on guitars. Chesbro is also sponsoring the 10-year anniversary of An Olde Fashioned Christmas and Winter Festivals, playing at the Museum of Idaho into December. Between its legendary reputation, inno- vative brand development, dealer network and quality line of instruments, the biggest challenge may be Chesbro's own success. Kerr notes that it's actually a difficult company to hire for, if only because of the unique mix of required skill sets; namely, musicians who can sell. From a management perspective, that's a great problem to have. "Thankfully, we have great combination of people who specialize in their area of the business," Wilson adds. "We're truly grate- ful for all they've done to make Chesbro the company it is today." Source material: Online archive informa- tion from the Museum of Idaho, Harold Bunderson of Boise State University, and spe- cial thanks to Vanetta Wilson and Tana-Jane Stahn and the staff at Chesbro Music Co., for their time and hospitality.

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