As the saying goes, the family that plays together stays together, and that’s certainly been the case for the Beacock family. Dad Dale was a clarinet and saxophone player, while mom Susan sang and played upright bass and children Russ and Gayle played drums and flute, respectively.
Not content to simply make beautiful music together, the family also works together, sharing the gift of music with the Vancouver, Wash., music community since 1976, and in Eugene, Ore., since 2018.
Working with your family can be a double-edged sword for some, but, “Honestly, we have had a great experience working together to build this business,” said co-owner Gayle Beacock. “We have all been invested in it for so long that each success or milestone has truly been a family affair.”
Each member of the family has been able to bring their own unique strengths to the table, creating a perfect harmony that has propelled the business to become one of the largest independent music stores in the country.
“It is fun to see how each of us has contributed differently,” said Beacock. “Our dad was very much an extrovert and knew everyone in town. He was able to connect with teachers and students on such a personal level, while our mom was the doer and thinker, a detail person with an eye for merchandising before merchandising was a thing.”
“Russ is like my mom,” added Beacock, “a great big-picture thinker who is always strategizing and setting goals, while I enjoy facilitating and making projects and departments happen. I like getting my hands dirty, so to speak.”
Beacock’s parents opened the store after her father’s private lessons business outgrew the spare bedroom in the family home. “My brother and I grew up in a home that always had kids waiting in the living room for their lesson. We thought this was normal!” Beacock mused.
They secured a 3,000-square-foot store at the corner of a small strip mall. The building offered four lessons studios and, eventually, some retail space in the front area — this was first used for accessories, and later, instruments for rent or sale.
Despite many setbacks, including incredibly tight finances and a devastating fire, Beacock Music perservered, refusing to throw in the towel and instead continuing to grow its footprint and scope.
“We didn’t have insurance at that time, so we would take all of the inventory home every night and bring it all back the next day. Those were some tough days,” recalled Beacock, who, along with her brother, would help out after school and eventually came to teach lessons at the store.
Beacock Music has come a long way since then, now employing 75 staff and educators between two locations, including the 20,000-square-foot building in Vancouver, Wash. that has housed the main store, including a repair shop and award-winning education center, since 2004.
“We believe that retail is detail, and our store is created for a retail experience,” explained Beacock. “We enjoy keeping our store fresh and new. Our displays are ever-changing and interactive. The best compliment is when someone walks into our store, stands back and says ‘wow.’”
Eye-catching design elements abound, including vintage objects such as traffic lights, old gas pumps and antique furniture, and shoppers can often find items one wouldn’t normally associate with a music store.
“Our mom had the vision to sell candles, Symphony candy bars and other out-of-the-ordinary items for music (continued on page 48)