Today we’d like to introduce you to Connor Grayson.
Hi Connor, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstories with our readers?
Grayson’s Tune Town was originally founded in 1953 in Montrose, California by my great-grandfather, Val Grayson. We opened as a record shop and eventually moved to specialize in guitars. Additionally, we focus on boutique pedals, a robust lesson program, and some of the best guitar repairs in the city. Today, my grandfather, mother, and I all work together to bring the best music shop experience to everyone in Los Angeles.
I began my journey at age 12 when I moved to the Glendale area and started helping out on Saturday mornings at the shop. Eventually, my schedule increased to after school on weekdays and part-time during college. I knew very early on that I wanted to create an experience for customers in the music industry. So, many customers would come in and have negative things to say about the big chains and how their customer service was atrocious. My goal was to grow the store into a Los Angeles staple that carries the best guitar inventory, has the best local lesson program, and has some of the best repairs in the city.
After finishing my education at Loyola Marymount University, where I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Entrepreneurship, I lined up to dedicate myself to the store full-time. While the pandemic has hindered many businesses, we have been fortunate enough to adapt to trends in the industry and continue to grow our business.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
Running any business regardless of the industry has its challenges. My grandfather can provide better detail on business pre-2006 but from my perspective, our greatest challenges occurred from 2008-2010 and during the current pandemic. 2008, was a desperate time for many businesses during the recession and we had our share of difficulties then as well.
Navigating a time when student count was low, inventory was low, and people weren’t spending as much on music and arts was difficult. We were fortunate enough to adapt to the times financially and weather the storm, waiting it out for better days when the economy returned to a better state.
Fast forward to 2020-2021 with the Coronavirus Pandemic and things have been challenging, albeit in a different fashion. We reinvented our lesson program overnight, converting all students to online lessons for over one year while social distancing was not possible in-store. I have to give credit to our instructors for reinventing their lesson programs overnight and still being able to teach at a high level despite not being in person with students.
The other major challenge was in the supply chain, like for many businesses. Getting products into the store quickly just wasn’t possible. Whether it be overseas products stuck at the port or American suppliers dealing with factory capacity constraints. All the while, demand for musical instruments increased substantially over the course of the pandemic. So many new and existing players coming back to music now that they had more time on their hands!
We were spread thinly on inventory for quite some time and the challenge was begging, pleading, and hammering our suppliers to get more product so that we could supply our customers. Although we’ve been fortunate to do relatively good business over the pandemic, it wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies. In the early months of the pandemic, particularly when there was a mandatory two-month shutdown for all non-essential businesses in Los Angeles, we feared for the worst.
Imagine being told that you have to close your doors to the public without a timetable on when you may be able to reopen? We immediately poured more effort into our online sales and began deliveries around town, curbside services, and more to stay afloat until we were “allowed” to reopen to the public.
All in all, it’s been an interesting 15 years at this store, I’ve learned so much from our customers, our staff, and my grandfather!
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?
Grayson’s Tune Town is a family-owned historic music store founded in 1953, in Montrose, California. Val Grayson originally opened the shop selling records but later moved to sell fine instruments. Val’s excellent customer service is what set Grayson’s apart from the competition early on and his business morals are very much alive in the shop today.
Our collection of instruments primarily focuses on guitars from the biggest names in the industry including Fender, Gibson, Martin, Taylor, Gretsch, and more. Orchestra instruments alongside a folk & ukulele selection accompany our wide guitar selection. Lastly, our boutique pedal selection is one of the finest in all of Los Angeles!
Instruments aren’t all we focus on through – our lesson program is the longest standing in Crescenta Valley. We believe in tailoring our lessons to each student’s needs so that every student can feel empowered to reach their full musical potential.
Last but certainly not least, Grayson’s has become a bright spot in fretted instrument repair. Professional Setups, Pickup Installations, and more draw the Los Angeles community to our store for quality instrument repair. Our staff focuses on exceptional quality while maintaining a quick turnaround time so that you have the instrument you need by showtime!
What has been the most important lesson you’ve learned along your journey?
There have been many lessons I’ve learned over the last fifteen years working in this business but to name a few important ones:
1) Creating a team atmosphere is incredibly important. Making decisions together is so important and when everyone has a say it makes for a more productive and fun work environment.
2) Again related to teamwork and communication: Working with my mother and grandfather has been incredibly important for our success. We are approaching problems and ideas from 3 different generations which have helped to create a complete picture when viewing almost any situation.
- Standard Setups: $85
- 30-minute Music Lessons: $35
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: www.graysonstunetown.com
- Instagram: @graysonstunetown
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GraysonsTuneTown/
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/graysons-tune-town-montrose