Saturday, June 6, 2009

Dietze upbeat about future; The store's south location is doing well with music lessons, repairs

Published in Directions 2009, a special section of the Lincoln Journal-Star, February 22, 2009
Copyright 2009 Lincoln Journal Star. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission

Visit the Dietze Music House at 56th Street and Old Cheney Road, and you'll almost always hear music.

The store's 11 studio rooms, convenient parking and hours of operation have made it the premiere store for lessons out of the four Dietze locations (including downtown, Omaha and Bellevue).

The highest demand is for guitar lessons, Manager Mike Pardee said. Dietze also offers lessons in bass, drums, saxophone, trumpet, percussion, flute, piano and violin.

"We have focused on music as an activity rather than just selling an instrument," Pardee said. "We provide service. We have a repair shop for both band instruments and guitars. We offer lessons. It's not like this is the end of the relationship."

Ever since August Dietze opened the first store downtown in 1927, the business has been about serving musicians and empowering the community for music creation and music enjoyment, said Ted Eschliman, coowner of Dietze Music.

Although the business climate has changed, the community continues to show a healthy interest in music, and Eschliman doesn't see that changing much -- even with the economy.
The Internet has changed everything in the retail world, Eschliman said.

"We do have the edge in that music is a sensory experience," he said. "You cannot have an organic experience with an instrument unless it's in your hands. We try to exploit that and do everything we can to give people the opportunity to experience music in real time and real dimension."

Those opportunities include "instrument petting zoos" -- where children can play instruments -- free music workshops and supporting the Lincoln Symphony's Young People's Concerts.

With the current recession, Dietze is cautious about certain product areas. For instance, the store is focusing more on inexpensive keyboards rather than grand pianos. But Eschliman is optimistic the arts will remain strong even through a recession.

"There are still people that want that comfort. They want enjoyment. Maybe they're not going to do a trip to Acapulco or buy an RV, but maybe they'll sit on their front porch with a guitar or banjo and enjoy themselves."

And parents will always value their kids.

That's why their rental program and lessons have remained strong, Eschliman said. "We've seen health there, and that will continue to be healthy for us. It's a matter of priority. People will spend money on their kids."

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