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From high school band to the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band to professional artists, Thorn Music Center provides a friendly environment to purchase and fix all kinds of instruments.
The local music store opened in 2009, and is owned by Josh Thorn who said he decided to open the shop after losing his job during The Great Recession. Thorn Music Center is located down University Drive and open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. for music lovers alike.
Filled with instruments any band member may need, as well as a repair shop, Thorn said the music center has grown vastly since its conception when it was run out of Thorn’s own home.
“I am the repair technician and for a while there were only two of us in the whole central part of Texas that did this job,” Thorn said. “I started repairing instruments on my own while I lived out in Robertson County so I was going out and meeting people in their homes and places. Until people and students started calling from more schools and it piled up so much I realized I couldn’t do this alone anymore.”
Soon after, Thorn established the shop in College Station and enlisted the help of his friend Ralph Martinez to get the shop running.
“I was teaching music lessons on the side just to make ends meet until Thorn brought me on board when he opened up Thorn Music Center,” said Martinez.
Thorn and Martinez have been friends for 11 years now and have worked Thorn Music Center up to being a five-star rated store on Yelp and Facebook.
“Martinez has been here since the beginning, he is the style of the store,” Thorn said. “I run the repair shop and Martinez runs the store. I would be lying if I said any of the five-star ratings are because of me.”
Thorn and Martinez said they worked to put together a three-man team for Thorn Music Center that includes Martinez, Thorn and Dan Seeker, in order to make all needs of the store met.
“We put together what we like to call a three-legged tripod,” Thorn said. “Dan Seeker, goes to all the schools and checks that the students have everything taken care of with their instruments. [Ralph] Martinez does all the training of the employees up front while working with customers and sales and I have a team for the repairs in the back.”
Thorn said that while running a music shop can have many different factors to focus on, customer service is their primary focus. Zach Weber, sales employee said that what makes Thorn Music Center stand out is the customer service they provide compared to other guitar centers.
“When I first started Martinez asked me what the most important thing as a salesman is and told me it’s customer service, our goal is to have a customer smiling when they leave and that is what matters to me,” said Weber.
However, Thorn said that while owning the shop is rewarding, owning a shop in a college town can be tough, there are many pros and cons from having the Aggie Band in your town to students graduating every semester.
“Being in a college town you make friends, for four years, and then they are gone,” Martinez said. “It is harder on us as a place of business because our employees will be here for a year or two then they move on so it is hard having to constantly hire and teach new employees. We find it impressive for us to be able to keep our reputation even though we have a high turnover rate.”
Martinez said one of the advantages of the store being in an environment such as College Station is that the university brings in customers spanning from novice musicians to members of the Aggie Band.
“Band parents in College Station are so involved, we are really lucky to be in an area where parents will ask questions and purchase anything for their students so that they can see their students succeed,” Martinez said. “A music store is not like a grocery store or a retail shop. This is a store where customers walk in with a purpose to be here, we focus on having a great environment and provide what the customers need to our best abilities.”

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