Trio tunes into musical needs at KMH Music, Inc.

12 years ago
By Kathy McCarty
Staff Writer

    PRESQUE ISLE — A new music store, KMH Music, Inc., has opened at 412 Main St., the former site of Aroostook Music, with three familiar faces returning to serve the musical needs of Aroostook County residents and beyond.

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Staff photo/Kathy McCarty

    KMH MUSIC, INC., has opened for business, with owners, from left, Randy King, Chris Morton and Larry Hall ready to meet your music needs with over 30 years of combined experience — both in retail and as musicians. Located at 412 Main St. in Presque Isle, the store will be open seven days a week, offering everything from equipment to music lessons. The business also works with schools throughout Aroostook and beyond, servicing band equipment and other needs.

    The closing of Aroostook Music occurred earlier this year when the owners of parent company, Northern Kingdom Music, made the business decision to pull the plug on the store. That move left employees wondering about their future and the future of music in The County. But quitting wasn’t an option for staff, who’d devoted many years to selling and servicing equipment for individuals, bands and school systems.


    So was born the idea for a new music store.

    “We opened to fill a void left by the closing of Northern Kingdom,” said co-owner Chris Morton. “The store’s name is actually a combination of ours. ‘KMH’ stands for owners Randy King, Chris Morton and Larry Hall — King Morton’s Hall of Music, or KMH for short.”

    “Between the three of us, we bring 30 years of experience to the business,” said Hall. “We’ve done this before and know what we’re doing.”

    A need to keep music alive was the driving factor behind the men’s decision.

    “One reason we opened is we’re the only full-service music store north of Bangor. We offer retail goods, amps, drum sets, guitars and keyboards,” said Hall.

    The store also carries all accessories that go with those retail goods, noted Hall.

    “Another reason is to support school bands. We provide band instrument sales and rental programs for beginners,” he said.

    “Third is the service we provide. I do all the band instrument repairs. Randy does all string instrument repairs and we have outsourcing for amp repairs and electronics,” Hall continued.

    Hall’s fourth reason for opening will ensure future business.

    “Our fourth reason is our lesson program. We offer lessons and have teachers for any instrument,” he said, “be it keyboard, guitar, band or folk instruments.”

    If you can’t afford a new instrument, KMH will help you find an affordable used instrument.

    “One thing we’ll be able to develop is a used instrument market,” said Hall.

    Repairs are also offered.

    “We’re able to fix things too — try to make them like new or as close to it as we can,” said Morton.

    The store will carry a selection of used, as well as new, equipment.

    “We’ll buy used instruments, depending on our need and the condition of the items presented to us,” said Hall.

    Morton said he’s pleased with the selection of vendors they’ve lined up so far.

    “We were lucky to be able to secure the likes of Fender, Ibanez, Yamaha, Tama and Seagull — an acoustic guitar handcrafted in Canada,” said Morton.

    “Our band instruments include Conn-Selmer, Yamaha and Jupiter,” added Hall.

    Morton said support has been tremendous for the men’s business venture.

    “We’ve had a lot of support from vendors, who’ve been good to us, but especially the community,” said Morton. “Derek Smith from KFC has been hugely valuable and a big supporter. Community support has been huge.”

    Visitors to the store may notice some big changes. While the location has remained the same, more than the name has changed.

    “We’ve totally renovated the store, did some expanding to open the floor space,” said Hall.

    Morton said the renovations will allow them to offer something the past owner didn’t.

    “We took part in July’s First Friday Art Walk, with Gunther Brown performing. On Aug. 3 at 8 p.m. we’ll feature Mark Shaw. It’s BYOC — bring your own chair, with a small monetary donation accepted at the door to help the musicians with expenses,” said Morton, noting plans are to hold a grand opening in conjunction with the August event.

    Hall said part of his responsibility will be providing service to schools.

    “I’ll be on the road in Aroostook and some schools outside the County,” said Hall.

    Local ownership has its benefits, said Morton.         

    “It’s nice to serve customers and make local decisions, not have to consult someone else,” said Morton.

    “It’s nice to be in charge of our own destiny,” added Hall.

    Equipment and supplies have been coming in daily.

    “We’re looking forward to a tremendous influx of inventory,” said Hall. According to the KMH Facebook page, a recent shipment included violins, congas, bongos, drum hardware, harmonicas, drum sets and even ukuleles.

    Hall said if experience equates to success, then they’ve got that covered.

    “One thing we have going for us, we’ve been here before and customers already know us on a first-name basis. For 37 years I was a music teacher. That experience is invaluable. Each of us plays many more than one instrument. We not only sell but can play what we sell,” said Hall.

    “And we stand behind what we sell. We play and sell what we believe in. We order what we know is best because we are musicians first, salesmen second,” said Morton.

    Business hours are Monday through Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Thursday and Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday 1-5 p.m. For more information, call 764-3651 or look for KMH Music on Facebook.