Instrumental Influence in Sedalia has been named one of the Top 100 musical instrument and product retailers in the world by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM).
Instrumental Influence, located at 3127 W. Broadway Blvd. in the Thompson Hills Shopping Center, was founded by Marcel and Evelyn Yonce in 1990. Cayle Yonce began working for his parents at just 19 years old, and is now the president of the local business, which he co-owns with his wife, Lisa.
Cayle filled out an extensive online application for the Top 100 award, which, according to a news release, is judged by a committee that looks at a company’s “demonstrated commitment to exceptional customer service, proven community advocacy and support for music education, an exemplary retail experience worth returning for and recommending to others, merchandising and marketing tactics that encourage repeat sales, sound planning for future success, employing marketing and training initiatives, and engaging and effective use of web and social media.”
“We’re grouped into the same category with stores that do $300 million in annual revenue, so I felt pretty good about that,” Cayle said. “… It’s an affirmation of 24 years of hard work and attempting to treat customers as well as you do your family, or better sometimes.”
Cayle and Lisa have done a lot to qualify their store for the community involvement portion of the award. Lisa coordinates Instrumental Influence’s lesson program, which sees more than 200 students a week. She also coordinates their home-school choir program, created for home-schooled students who don’t have the opportunity to participate in fine arts. The 12-week class is hosted each semester for students ages 7 to seniors in high school.
“(The students) also do community service, at the end of the semester we go to some local nursing homes and sing, we’ve sung for the Noonday and Sunrise Optimists, Lions Club,” Lisa said. “We’ve sung for local civic groups and the nursing homes. We make a tour out of that.”
The store offers a community concert each year around Christmas and in the spring. Cayle also said they try to provide local events with musicians when needed, such as when groups visit the fairgrounds and need some entertainment for a night.
Also on the long list of community involvement activities Instrumental Influence puts on is Food for Strings, a food drive hosted last fall to benefit local food pantries. Through a partnership with one of the store’s manufacturers, customers could bring in five canned goods and in exchange received free restringing on their guitar.
The store also provides scholarships for “good kids in bad situations” to receive band instruments, and for students to receive lessons who may not be able to afford them otherwise.
“You have to re-qualify each year (for the Top 100),” Cayle said. “It’s kind of a nice thing that it nudges you on to be excellent at what you do again for the next year because this isn’t a lifetime club that you get into, if you were to do it again next year you have to re-qualify, so that keeps you sharp on promoting and community involvement, advertising, keeping the lesson program going.”
Instrumental Influence could also be awarded in one of eight additional categories: Best Exterior Presentation, Best Merchandising Display, Best Marketing and Sales Promotion, Best Online Presentation, SupportMusic Advocacy, Music Makes a Difference, Best Emerging Dealer “Rookie of the Year,” and Best Special Event, and they could also be named Dealer of the Year. Cayle and Lisa will receive their Top 100 award, and any other awards received, during a presentation July 18 at the NAMM summer trade show in Nashville, Tenn.
“It’s always good to be recognized for your work. I think it speaks highly of our staff, we have a very good staff,” Cayle said. “We’ve always really had a team approach here, and I know that’s preached in a lot of businesses, but we’ve always had a smaller, better paid staff rather than a bunch of clerks because we think ultimately that provides a better customer experience when you come in. We really make an effort to get to know our customers by first name when they walk in, things that make you stand out.”
For more information about Instrumental Influence, call 827-3004 or visit InstrumentalInfluence.com.