JACKSON, Mich. — Playford Music is closing its doors Saturday after 46 years of serving the Jackson community.
Craig Playford who owns the music store said, “many times in the store’s 46 years, wiser men would have probably closed the store and gone on to other careers.”
He never considered doing that.
“My love for both music and business set my course from the time I was in middle school,” he said. “What I love most about my career is the people. My band instrument repairman Craig Easterday has been with me since the late 1970s.”
His customers have been the most important, he said.
“You do the best you can to make sure you are doing the best by your customers,” he said. “I can’t imagine a more charmed lifetime of work that was not work and am extremely grateful to those who have been part of my journey along the way. My thanks to you all.”
Dan Bickel has been an instructor at Playford for 20 years.
“We met here back in the late '80s when we all wanted to learn to play the guitar and we all just enjoyed music and we found out there was a store in town. The owner was really nice to everybody,” he said. “Real straight shooter. It just made me feel like it was a place that we could go because we liked what was here.”
Some of his fondest memories come from a local competition called the Hot Licks, Hot Sticks contest.
“Which was for kids to play guitar or play drums and we would all go home and record ourselves and get it turned for a 45-second audition and they would choose just the top three of the whole area who would get to perform at the Westwood Mall which at the time had this big stage,” he said. “There must have been 150 to 200 people lining the sides of the mall watching us play our little riffs by Poison and Guns ‘n Roses. But, we met some of our friends who eventually were bandmates.”
To this day he still plays in a band with one of the people who he met in that competition in 1989.
Bickel said he kind of knew Playford Music was going to be closing.
“It had been in the discussion for several years,” he said. “Retail has been a little tough. The store does most of its business now through churches and schools. We’ve done a lot of the sound systems of football stadiums and gymnasiums.”
Bickel said Playford Music was just a place all musicians knew they could rely on to get what they needed.
"They could come pick up a set of strings, talk to a couple of friends, make a couple high dollar purchases a few times a year,” Bickel said. “The consistency of knowing, ‘oh gosh, I broke a string, I’ve got a gig tonight, I’ll run over to the store and just get a quick pack of strings and say hi to whoever is working.’ The networking and friendships. It’s really been the center of the musical community.”
The store may be closing, but Bickel says they will still be holding music lessons for now.
If you are interested in checking out Playford Music one last time, Bickel said their prices keep getting better but the inventory is shrinking. He said stuff will be down to dealer cost for the sale on Saturday.
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