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Hidden Gems: Meet Drew Martin and Thomas Freckleton of Bakersfield Sound Co

Today we’d like to introduce you to Drew Martin and Thomas Freckleton.

Hi Drew and Thomas, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
It all kind of started with a phone call I made to Thomas after hearing about a local music store going out of business. I had spoken to him, nearly ten years prior, about a dream of opening a music store, but it never seemed possible. Being friends for that same amount of time and business partners scrubbing solar in the hot sun, I needed to ask him a very important question… “Do you want to start a music store with me?!”

So, I decided to call him… on tour… in Berlin, Germany.

He did answer and was stoked to hear my voice, but then couldn’t believe what I followed through and asked. He was pretty confused and said… “bro…. I’m in Germany right now, what are you even asking?!”

After explaining what was happening to the old music store, revisiting my old business plan, and considering the state of our musical community, he agreed to do it with me and thus, the partnership was born.

We inquired about leasing the building that the old music store was leaving and signed papers a few days later. It was truly an unbelievable feeling to actually take steps to not just build a store but invigorate and inspire the community.

In January of 2019, we got hard at work and painted, renovated, cleaned, and got our branding. By April, we had our official grand opening on Merle Haggard’s birthday coincidentally and have been growing ever since.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It was a bit rough starting out with just a small budget and being pitted up against both the internet and the big box music store in town. We had to begin all new dealerships and did not have big pockets to compete adequately. So we had to get it right immediately, with the decisions we made in inventory purchases was.

We spent every day grinding and asking our customers how they were and what they wanted to see in a local music store. We took everyone seriously and used that data to help build a strong inventory of things people really needed. That made things a lot more streamlined and potent…

But then came the bump we all weren’t expecting. “The Pandemic.”

This was a big setback for our walk in traffic, but being the musicians we are, playing by ear was what we did best. So, we immediately put all our music teachers on zoom with their students and did curbside and delivery. We even started a monthly livestream that we have continued to feature as a regular part of our business now. The pandemic had set us back but really felt more like it set everyone else back to our beginning level.

Ultimately, we have grown stronger as a team and used all of our talents and resources to figure out how to best the bumpy roads.

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
We are a full-service music store in Bakersfield, CA. We sell guitars, basses, keyboards, and all the goods. Beyond that, we have an amazing lessons program teaching guitar, bass, drums, piano, vocals, and ukulele. We have multiple instrument technicians and a band and orchestra rental program for schools.

We are very proud of our town and believe that our brand is a critical component to reviving the local music store and what they did for music culture. We believe what sets us apart is our ability to have more boutique and harder to find merchandise, greater quality of service, and a more focused vision on why we exist.

The best experience is in store, but we have a website and social media presence as well to share our vibe and our products. If you’re tired of the music store experience you’re getting, let us have a shot at showing you what a music store experience ought to be.

Is there anyone you’d like to thank or give credit to?
We have to obviously give first credits to God and to family for being there for us and showing us love when we were a mess. After that, we have possibly one of the best communities in the world. We weren’t able to afford advertising at all, but, due to the word of mouth from our great customers, we saw far more growth than we could have dreamed within the first year.

On top of that, a few creatives who have helped us gain experience in branding and video/photo: Ryan Sander, Jacob Vega, and Justin Cummings.

Also, for non-stop, positive motivation via social media – Gary Vee

Pricing:

  • Half Hour Lessons (Zoom or inperson) $30
  • Full Hour Lessons (Zoom or inperson) $50

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Jacob Vega @rex.crtv

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