Printed on: January 22, 2013

Changing its tune

In business since 1980, Mike's Music features three locations

By Ruth Brown
rbrown@postregister.com

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the latest installment of the Post Register's ongoing Small Business Success Stories series. The series spotlights some of the area's homegrown businesses and companies. To suggest a business to highlight, send an email with a brief description of the company to news@postregister.com.

More than 250 guitars line the walls, along with rows of amplifiers, keyboards, drum sets and cymbals, as well as a few ukuleles, at the Idaho Falls outlet of Mike's Music.

The music shop, owned by Mike Doggett, opened its first location in Pocatello in 1980 followed by another in Idaho Falls in 1982 and a third in Rexburg in 2000.

In addition to a variety of musical instruments, accessories and public address systems, Mike's Music also offers drum, guitar and bass lessons, as well as instrument repairs.

You also can rent amplifiers and PA systems from Mike's.

The strum of a guitar often can be heard throughout the store as customers try out potential purchases. The store offers a wide range of acoustic and electric guitars in a variety of colors and styles, including a silver glitter finish.

Doggett said he decided to open his own store after working for other music shops.

"My first job out of college was working in a music store selling guitars and amps," he said.

Doggett worked at the Melody Shop, a store in Idaho Falls which since has closed, for less than a year. Later, he spent eight years working for Chesbro Music Co. -- until he bought the music store in Pocatello.

"So music, of some sort or another, is all I've ever done," he said.

The business has installed public address systems in Thunder Stadium at Bonneville High School, Ravsten Stadium at Idaho Falls High School, as well as Melaleuca Field and almost every gymnasium in town, Doggett said.

His son, Jeremy Doggett, runs the Idaho Falls branch of Mike's Music and said the business offers expert PA system installation advice.

The key to staying successful with three locations is keeping up with the times, Mike Doggett said.

And the music business has changed throughout the last three decades.

Mike's Music no longer sells pianos or organs or merchandise unrelated to music.

Staying up-to-date on what today's musicians want is vital.

"The business changes and I was in it long enough -- in the wholesale end and the retail end -- that I was able to see a lot of other music stores," Doggett said. "I could see the ones that were doing well and the ones that went bankrupt. So I learned a lot watching the ones that came and went."

Jeremy Doggett, who's been playing the drums since he was 5, said the experience within Mike's Music is beneficial to its customers. Family members help run the stores, along with a few other part-time staffers.

All of the employees are knowledgeable about PA systems and also play instruments themselves; some also teach lessons.

"We've been around a long time and everyone's nice and friendly," Jeremy Doggett said. "... We know a lot about the different aspects of (playing music)."

Mike Doggett said he remains in the music business because it's something he enjoys. He's a guitar player himself and said his favorite band always has been The Beatles.

"I've always considered myself one of the luckiest guys because I'm the kid in the candy store," he said. "There's nothing better than a guitar player getting to sell guitars, fix guitars and adjust guitars.

"I've always had a good time coming to work. Not many people can say that."

Ruth Brown can be reached at 542-6750. Follow on Twitter: @ruthbrown1. Comment on this story on Post Talk at www.postregister.com/posttalk/.

Mike's Music

locations

Rexburg: 54 East Main St.

Idaho Falls: 2455 N. Yellowstone Highway.

Pocatello: 2908 Pole Line Road.

In Idaho Falls, call 524-4441.

Website: www.mikesmusicusa.com

Business Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday