May 3, 2012 - By Martin Reed, Staff WriterIt's been more than a year since Mammoth Music in downtown Riverton changed ownership, but a grand opening celebration is finally happening this Saturday, May 5.
"It may sound a little strange to do a grand opening a year after," Mammoth owner Bernard Masson said in an interview this week. "It took us time to understand the store and what people want."
In the year or so since he acquired the business from longtime owner Deb Stone, changes have flourished within the store a couple doors down from the Acme Theater on Main Street.
"We have actually been successful to grow it a little bit by having broader selections and making them available and developing the special orders," Masson said.
A different arrangement of compact discs in bins and shelves along the walls is evident, along with the expanded offerings of musical instruments including electric and acoustic guitars, basses, ukuleles, mandolins, violins, horns, drums and keyboards.
"There's a lot of people out there who haven't rediscovered" Mammoth Music, Masson said. "We just want to invite people who have not have a chance to visit us and discover the store."
The grand opening celebration will start at 10 a.m. with a ribbon cutting by the Riverton Chamber of Commerce.
Until about 5 p.m., there will be in-store promotions, musical performances and giveaways, including a drawing for a Washburn acoustic guitar eligible to anyone who makes a purchase of at least $10.
For those who have been in Mammoth Music since the change of ownership, new faces in the business also include store manager Jeannette Peck and Masson's sons Vincent and Bert helping customers.
A new sign is up on the storefront at 318 E. Main St., where passers-by can hear music playing from speakers installed above the sidewalk.
"We feel that (addition) spruced up Main Street," Bernard Masson said.
In light of all the music downloading, he doesn't deny that getting into the record-store business wasn't the safest venture, which he learned about from Vincent.
"He said, 'Oh, Dad, the music store is for sale.' My reaction was, 'So what?'" the father said about initial conversations with Vincent Masson in November 2010.
He decided to pursue the business as a way to showcase Vincent's talents as a guitar specialist who has a wide knowledge of music.
"I decided it would be a good thing for him," the dad said. "I believe it's a lot easier to work within your passion. ... His vast knowledge of music and specifically guitar is quite useful."
The family members also considered the availability of live music in the area in reaching a decision. "We had attended a few parades and we were struck by how little music there was in the parades," Bernard said.
"We decided it would be a good thing to, quote-unquote, put more music in the community," he said.
He cited the two halves of the business: "What I call the listening part and the making part."
"It mostly concentrated on the listening part," Masson said about the business before he acquired it. "Of course the listening part, the CD, will disappear eventually. The really important part of the business is the making part, the support of the music," he said.
The store has focused on expanding the selection of guitars.
"We price at the same level as online pricing," Masson said. "We've got used and trade-ins, which is a big plus for us."
Customers who enter the store may notice a slightly tropical feel.
"Humidity in the store is at a constant 40 percent," Masson said.
The humidity helps to preserve the wood quality in the guitars.
"What it does, the wood of the guitar will keep the integrity and the instruments will play better and stay better longer," he said.
The store offers a wide selection of instruments used within the schools by students.
"We have both sales and rent-to-own programs which allow students to play in bands at low monthly costs," Masson said.
Expect more from the store in the coming months.
"The next step we think is sorely missing in town is a school of music," Masson said. "That's really a key, key attribute of success in the music business."
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