Review of Reason

Reason with Sensibility In An Age of Capitalist Fancy, Madness and Delusion

Mitt Romney Kills Small Business part1


Ford Music vs Mitt Romney GOP

Photo by J.D. Cavrich 5/3/12 At Ford Music. Ed Ford, Ford Music Store Owner Ed Ford, with a Martin guitar and Yamaha piano.

Perhaps the title of this article should be Republicans eat their own children alive but headings of the local traditionally pro ‎Republican Newspaper of ‎Altoona ‎Pennsylvania, The Altoona Mirror ‎read ‎ Ford Music ‎closing Store will hold sale on Wednesday, The article stated in the May 7, 2012 edition, written by Walt Frank (

Lost in the foot notes and trivia “After 77 years in business, Ford Music Store will close its doors. A going out of business sale will begin Wednesday at the913 Chestnut Ford Music, has been a pillar of the downtown business community, said Joe Hurd, president and CEO of the Blair County Chamber of Commerce.” (ibid.).

But beneath the very thin veneer of another rightfully proud struggling small American business and its owner Ed Ford was another sad story that was untold in what contrasted with what the town’s strongly GOP leaning newspaper, the GOP, and Mitt Romney states. For in the middle of August the Mitt Romney-Ryan GOP, began running advertisements grinding out their sour tunes of deception for their 2012 presidential election bid against President Barack Obama in what they selectively presented as “pro-business”, “pro-middle class” but without any basis in fact.

Where I am no great supporter of president Obama, but I must also point out how extremely misleading the GOP pro-Romney tide of glossy sludge is placed into our view. As  I have my specific and express knowledge, as a musician, music tutor and dealer,  of having done business for years with a company that had sadly become another cog in brutal Mitt Romney Bain Capital Clones, in complete contrast with the any small family business and in this instance namely the Ford Music Company, of  Ed Ford, Altoona Pennsylvania.

It was said that for Ed Ford and Ford Music that  “closing was a difficult decision”, that  “Anytime you can endure and be successful for 77 years is a major accomplishment. More ‎and more, specialty stores are having a difficult time being able to exist. It is amazing they ‎had been able to have the longevity they had. I attribute that to good management and how ‎they were respected in the community,” (ibid.) Hurd said. “We are sorry to see them go.” (ibid.).

‎”Owner Ed Ford, a 1968 graduate ofAltoonaAreaHigh School, said he has worked at the ‎store since he was in high school. After graduating from theUniversityofMiami(Fla.) in ‎‎1972 with a degree in business administration, Ford worked for Bill Binder Baldwin inMiami‎for a year before returning home to the family business. Ford, who took over the business in ‎‎1976 when his father Charles died, said it was a difficult decision to close the family ‎business. “This is all I knew from high school to now. It is all I ever did and all I ever wanted ‎to do,” Ford said.” (ibid.).

‎”Ford Music was founded in 1935 when Ford’s parents Charles, an Altoona native and Leila, a ‎native of Cambridge, Mass. – the two met at Boston University – took over the business ‎formerly known as Russell Music, from Willis Russell, Charles Ford’s uncle”

‎”Back then, the majority of the business was band instruments. In the 1940s, Dad got ‎involved withBaldwinpianos and Wurlitzer organs,” Ford said. Ford Music sold many pianos, ‎organs and other musical instruments and accessories over the years. The 1970s and 1980s ‎were a very busy time. ‘The piano business was good and we had the organ business on top ‎of it. Around 2000, it started to back off some,” (Ibid.).

Ford said:

“The business changed over the years. The introduction of less expensive digital pianos hurt ‎business as did Internet and catalog sales.”‎ (ibid.) meaning the big corporation sales that were eroding away the family small business basis of the music instrument business.

What really changed was that in the year 2000 (as Ed Ford mentioned as a turning point ), was the beginning of the heyday of free floating craps shooting unregulated investments of Wall Street Speculators seeking bigger and bigger profits in unjustifiable speculations. Which eventually saw The Guitar Center of California purchase mail ‎order and Internet retail house Musician’s Friend for $50 million, asserting that ‎the merged company was the world’s largest seller of musical ‎instruments. Musician’s Friend became a wholly owned subsidiary that was ‎headquartered inMedford,Oregonuntil 2011, when Musician’s Friend’s ‎headquarters operations were gradually consolidated into GuitarCenter’s ‎facilities inWestlake Village,California.

The Corporation was a Privately held company owned by Bain Capital with today $1.78 Billion in revenue, which is no small business, headed by CEO Greg Trojan, in what was fed by the investment feeding frenzy of a Wall Street out of control that Bain Capital was wholly part of its addictions to greater and greater profits. As part of Bain Capital’s search for profitable operations to feed its addiction, the Music Instrument market seemed  suitable, but in what resulted in what has been detrimental to the traditionally small business based musical instrument industry, in what big corporate giants decimated small community family run music stores by making them unprofitable and by putting them out of business.

Much like the mega Agro-business farms that sweep the small American family farms from the land, ahead of the dust bowl of depression era business, Bain Capital has been doing very much the same to music stores since it got into the industry. Where noticeably it greatest and best known associate Mitt Romney was in the running for the office of president of theUnited Statesclaiming to be good for small business, to get the middle class back to work when that was the farthest thing from the truth.

Mitt Romney, Co-founder and CEO, Bain Capital (1984–2002) , CEO, Bain & Company (1991–1992) CEO, involved in the corrupt practices of the 2002 Winter Olympics Organizing Committee (1999–2002) held in the Mormon bastion ofSalt Lake CityUtah.

Where in 2005, Guitar Center Inc. acquired Music & Arts Center, the largest school music dealer in the United States, merged their subsidiary band and ‎orchestral chain American Music Group into Music & Arts (as the company was ‎renamed) it had been gobbling up the competition in what was to become part of  ‎Bain Capital. in what can be called nothing less than unfair and predatory ‎monopolistic practices. WhereGuitarCenteris the largest chain of musical ‎instrument retailers in the world ‎with 228 locations throughout theUnited States‎Its headquarters is in‎Westlake Village,California” .

Guitar Center’s sister companies/subsidiaries incorporate Music & Arts Center, ‎‎Musician’s Friend,, LMI, Giardinelli,, Private ‎Reserve ‎Guitars, Woodwind and Brasswind and Harmony Central.”‎

Ford Music Store

Though Music andArtsCenterwas founded in 1952 inBethesda,Marylandand ‎sells band and orchestra instruments, guitars, keyboards, drum sets, printed ‎sheet music, and related supplies. By the summer of 2006,GuitarCenter‎purchased four stores inTexasfrom the popularSouth Texasand Central/South ‎American company, Hermes. In February 2007, the direct response division of‎GuitarCenter, Musician’s Friend, purchased assets of the Indiana-based ‎company Dennis Bamber, Inc., which included leading band and orchestra ‎retailer, Woodwind and Brasswind, plus Music 123 and Lyons Music. ‎

In what could be sharply contrasted to Ford Music of Altoona Pennsylvania that was always known for ‎renting musical instruments to school students” which can be summarized as follows.

‎”I am very proud of Ford Music’s 77-year history and the inspiration and joy that I ‎hope my ‎parents and I provided to children and adults – students and ‎professionals alike – from all ‎over the region. I am proud that so many young ‎people got their first piano, clarinet, guitar ‎or other instrument from Ford Music,” ‎Ford wrote in a letter to customers alerting them of ‎the closing.”‎

Providing service was a key to the success of Ford Music which can say it was a ‎small family based community business that was put out of business by the likes ‎of Bain Capital and its buy cheap push the merchandise out the door operation ‎where today they are hard pressed to what it is in the box they sell you. As the ‎other day reps of their subsidiaries as to which power supply should have been ‎supplied for an amplifier that was bought from them.‎

Where ‘”What is unique with a small business was if there was service needed to ‎be done, we always ‎provided it. Service after the sale. If someone had a question ‎or a problem, making ‎customers happy was No. 1. Our goal was to make ‎everyone happy and be satisfied,’ Ed Ford ‎said.‎

The business changed over the years. The introduction of less expensive digital ‎pianos hurt ‎business as did Internet and catalog sales People think they can get ‎a better deal but we sell them at the same prices or below. It is ‎just an easier way ‎to buy rather than drive down to the store. There will be times people will ‎say ‎they are sad we are not there any more,” Ford said. “With a brick and mortar ‎store, your ‎overhead never goes down; your expenses and taxes continue to ‎rise.”‎

Looking back, Ford said the most famous visitor in the store was Liberace, who ‎was in ‎Altoona for a concert at the local Shriner Jaffa Mosque in 1962.‎

Ford also said he was good friends withAltoonanative andPennStategraduate ‎Mike Reid, ‎who went on to fame as a college and professional football player and ‎later became a ‎Grammy award-winning composer.‎

‎”Altoonahas turned out a lot of musicians. Mike and I moved pianos together,” ‎Ford said. “I ‎went to Mike’s first professional football game when he played for ‎the [Cincinnati] Bengals.”‎

Ford Music Store

‎”Ford said he realized it was time to shut down the business

The bottom line is we are losing money. You reach a point financially where it is ‎not making ‎sense. I have had some physical issues and it has to be done. I have ‎to do it,” Ford said. ‎‎”The friendships I have made and the memories over the ‎years, you can’t take that away. Ford said he had hoped to sell the business but ‎a potential deal fell through.‎I had an owner that looked good to purchase the ‎business, because of a lack of bank ‎financing it fell through.‎

Where in the bottom line of matters I can not honestly say Ed Ford, his family and the Ford Music Store put any one out of business, that would be totally untrue as it would relate to Mitt Romney, the GOP, Bain Capital and its homogenized conglomerates which include some of the most ruthless music instrument sales operations which are almost completely user un-friendly in what should not be in the music business.

So the question again is when will Mitt Romney release all his tax returns so that these types of legal but unsavory business could be known publicly.

Share and Enjoy

Author: Andrew Stergiou

First online publisher of a literary art journal in the world.

Leave a Reply