December of 2023 will mark the 10th year of business for JAMS. I often reflect back to the first year and admit, I had no idea what I was doing. Frankly, I had limited retail experience, no business experience, and no expertise in the field of selling musical instruments. I was just a lifelong musician who saw the need to open a music store in Jackson, MO. It was a God-given calling I had when I was a teenager. Even at a young age I felt a call to open a store. I remember a moment where my mom and I drove up to a vacant building just outside of town, sat in the parking lot, and prayed, seeing if God would open the opportunity. After over a decade of growth, experience, maturity, and prayer, JAMS came to exist.
Even though I felt unqualified to open a business in 2013, I at least realized that I had a lot of shortcomings so I knew there would be growing pains and I would learn some things on the fly. I recall the first time a customer asked me to change strings on their acoustic guitar; and wanted to watch. Even though I’d changed strings numerous times on my personal guitars there’s something more intimidating about working on someone else’s guitar, while they watched you, “the expert”. Sweated the whole time but got the job done. Don’t worry, time and experience have taught me a lot over the last 10 years and now I’m well qualified to change your guitar strings.
Despite those initial shortcomings there were some key things I did know 10 years ago. A few of those principles are the reasons JAMS is still open today. One of them was to focus on relationships; to always take care of people. Building solid relationships is one of those core principles, not only in business, but in life. I wanted folks to feel like JAMS was a great place to be. Even if our small modest storefront at JAMS lacked the overall appeal and selection of a larger store, the staff would always be the difference. I’m proud and confident to say that vibe is still an essential element at JAMS. It’s personal, not just business. We have built some incredible relationships over the years that simply would not exist without JAMS; and I am grateful.
The other principle is to be versatile; offering any kind of service and product we could.
There was not a lot of research data available for music retail stores in Southeast Missouri. Opening a business that primarily sold guitars and accessories was an unknown risk. Were there enough musicians in Cape County that could support a Jackson music store? I had no idea, but knew I needed to offer a bevy of options to survive. So, we offered lessons to supplement the retail store. My business partner at the time, Micah, was handling the repair side of things so that gave us a nice bump of business too. We also learned how to adapt quickly. Often customers were asking about trades. I was new to dealing in the guitar world so I never considered trading. I had never traded anything in my life, except a car. There were also requests for us to buy gear out right. Again, Micah was more keen to this side of the business and we were able to take advantage. Micah also launched our Reverb Store and connected us with selling online. All of these additions allowed JAMS to survive, grow, and thrive.
As we enter our 10th full year of business we continue to evolve. Our retail show room is bigger than ever as we continue to offer a wide selection of guitars, drums, keyboards, pedals, amps, and related accessories from some of the best brands in the world. We teach over 50 students weekly: from guitar, to drums, to piano, and even banjo. Our repair team services hundreds of guitars every year. JAMS offers a full event DJ service package for weddings and other special events including a videography service. Every year we grow and become bigger and better, we are truly blessed. So, for our 10th year we continue to trend upward and add another element to JAMS. We are pleased to announce the launch of our band and orchestra rental program.
I am super pumped to make this announcement. When we first opened in 2013 we saw the need to help support band students, but focused on a different direction. This year, in conjunction with Sweetwater, we have formed a partnership that allows us to provide a great rental program. Over the past years I have come to appreciate the greatness and positive influences of the local school band program. Many of our guitar students and young customers beam with pride as they rise up to the challenge of playing guitar in the school Jazz Band. Personally, I’ve seen the musical growth of my own teenager participating in the concert band. We are excited to be an option for the next generation of young musicians looking for the same experience. This new addition to JAMS will feature our core principle of focusing on relationships with our customers, providing a safe, comfortable, and positive experience for every new musician. For more information on our Band Rental program visit: https://www.semojams.com/pages/band-rentals
We are excited for this next phase of JAMS. As with every adventure we will offer excellent service and will be quick to adapt to the changes and challenges that come. It is a privilege and honor to service the local music community and with this addition that role will expand greatly. Thank you to everyone who has supported us in the past, and we look forward to what the future holds and how the music community will continue to grow in Southeast Missouri.