Hermes Music – Back in the Game
Originally opened in 1982 and at one point one of the larger regional players in MI retail for the Southwest U.S., Hermes Music shuttered its brick and mortar operation a few years back. Founder and CEO Alberto Kreimerman – who can, without question, be considered one of the standard-bearers for all things positive relating to the “culture of music-making” – spent much of the ensuing years working on altruistic endeavors such as the Hermes Music Foundation and other charitable pursuits, while still running Hermes Music’s wholesale operation – the largest in Mexico.
In 2011, however, Kreimerman made the decision to re-enter the arena of U.S. musical instrument sales, opening three new Hermes Music outlets in Texas (www.hermes-music.com). We recently sat down with Alberto to discuss his hopes for the new chain and his passion for music and serving musicians.
MMR: Can you walk me through the closing/sale of the music stores a few years ago? What were the factors that led to that decision?
Alberto Kreimerman: We felt that it was time to take a break from the retail business to concentrate more on our distribution centers in Mexico and Latin America. It was in this manner that we were able to help and strengthen our network of contractors, dealers, retailers, et cetera in all vertical markets. We’ve gained a lot of experience helping to design and supply complete systems for stadiums, TV stations, cinemas, nightclubs, and so on. We are happy that we were able to restructure and consolidate our company during our absence from the retail business in the U.S. and now we’re ready to come back.
AK: We saw a big opportunity in the retail business. We can offer something our competitors can’t and we know our market very well. We have over 30 years of experience being retailers and serving retailers through our distribution company. We are musicians and we know what musicians want; we are here to give them what they want.
MMR: When did the new locations open and where are they?
AK: We opened two Hermes Music stores in South Texas, Brownsville and Pharr, earlier in 2011, but our grand opening of our main store in McAllen was in late October.
MMR: What lines are you currently carrying?
AK: Hermes Music has always prided itself for being a leader in the industry and carrying all major brands. If musicians want it, they can find it at Hermes Music.
MMR: And how many employees are currently on board?
AK: At the moment we have a total of 40 employees and we are in the process of hiring more. We want the Hermes Music team to have the best people in the industry. We know that a company is made up of people and that is why we always look for the best.
MMR: How big are the new stores?
AK: Our Brownsville and Pharr stores are 4,000 sq. ft. and 5,000 sq. ft. respectively. Our McAllen store, the main store, is 15,000 sq. ft.
MMR: Are you currently offering lessons? Repairs?
AK: We offer repairs, as we always have, because we want to make musicians’ lives easier. We are here to help because we love music. As for music lessons, that’s still in the works. One of our future projects is to open a Hermes Music Education Center in Texas.
AK: We believe that music is medicine because it cures our soul. Every year, the Hermes Music Foundation gives away thousands of guitars and other musical instruments in the U.S. and Mexico, as well as doing many other projects to help our community. We do most of our projects hand in hand with great musical artists and celebrities who help us carry our message of peace, love, and hope. On top of this, because we love music, we want to continue to serve and help musicians through our retail stores in the U.S. Our Foundation website is www.hermesmusicfoundation.org
MMR: Do you have plans to continue opening more stores in the coming months?
AK: Our plan is to start with these three locations in South Texas and then see where it goes from there. We’ll see what the market needs and we’ll know what the next step is.
AK: At the moment we are not selling online. The response we receive from the retail stores will dictate what the future brings.
MMR: It’s good to have you back – any final thoughts?
AK: For us, music is not just a business; it’s a way of life. Music is harmony and that’s what we need in this world. What we want more than just selling instruments is to help musicians by giving them what they want at an affordable price. Our goal is for people to walk out of Hermes Music having had a wonderful experience. We are in the most beautiful business in the world. That’s why we are back… because we love music.