Positively Osceola is highlighting local businesses in Osceola County to hear their stories and secrets of success, and what the future holds for them and their communities.
Lewis Music has been a staple of downtown Kissimmee and the Broadway corridor for 46 years!
When you look at the storefronts that have come and gone over the years, some spending just a few months open in downtown, then you realize there’s a history of success and staying power within the small-ish space of the four walls lined with with guitars, violins, saxophones, and other instruments along with the music accessories located between Monument and Darlington streets.
Lewis Music sells and repairs most instruments, and gives lessons on them, too. If you take lessons there, it’s possible your parents did as well. And if Paul Lewis has his way, you kids might be next.
Lewis Music is multi-generational and Paul is in the middle — his daughter comes in on Fridays. Lewis Music got its start with Paul’s mother, who worked at Mercury Marine in the area.
“She hated factory work. My dad had a band, he and his friend would ride up to Orlando to get strings and sticks. This was 1969, 1970, the height of the hippie movement.
“His friend told my dad, ‘Why don’t you open up a music store and let Mary work in there so we don’t have to go up drive so far?’ My mom would try anything, and 46 year later, we’re still here. I’ve been here 43 years. And I’ll be here just like my mom and dad.”
It’s the only music store in downtown, but Lewis realizes they share the market with Amazon and the online retail services — and that even includes lessons. But Lewis can offer a face-to-face, one-on-one relationship, making private lessons at Lewis’ a two-way street… a much wiser choice if excelling on a musical instrument is your, or your child’s passion.
“Right now we’re at our highest student numbers ever and are in high demand, but we still have openings,” he said. “People who took lessons here years ago or haven’t been here in a while, they come in, and they’re like, ‘The place is exactly the same, nothing has changed.'”
So, what’s the secret to lasting three generations in a ever-changing business market? Paul says it’s about connecting with people, and treat them better than you want to be treated.
“You can get this some of what we have online, but I can hand you the right book. I can stand right there and help you with your instrument,” he said.
He relayed a story about how being a “people person” re-taught the lesson.
“There was a Canadian staying in a rental home who looked us up online. He dropped off a guitar for restringing, but it played awful. I fixed it without charging extra, and when he picked it up and played it he said, ‘I’m going to tell my friends to come in.’ Two days later, our first two people in the door were his friends.”
Paul Lewis loves the business, and he loves the neighborhood.
“Downtown, right now, is the best it’s ever been,” Paul said. “I’m blown away how active it is after 5 o’clock now.”
Congratulations to Lewis Music… you are part of what making a Positive Difference in Osceola County truly means! Thank you.