Sound Factory has been serving the Prince George and northern BC music community since 2003.On January 1, 2017, the store changed ownership and management for the first time in its 14-year history. The new owner is Aidyl Jago, a lifelong musician and professional music administrator. She hit the caviar and emailed BCMM to celebrate.
What is the competition like in the Prince George region? Are you the only show in town?
Sound Factory is a very diverse business, so our competition varies depending on the line of business that we offer. We are a retail store where we sell new, used and consigned instruments, as well as audio gear, accessories, and used vinyl records. We are a music school with more than a hundred students in a wide variety of instruments. We are also an audio production company with sound techs for hire and a rental department.
I think what sets Sound Factory apart from the competition is that we are locally, independently owned and operated by extremely experienced and knowledgeable people who are active members of our northern BC music community. We work really hard to treat our customers, students and their families the way we would want to be treated in a music store/school, since we’ve all been in their shoes!
What has been your biggest challenge since New Year’s Day?
Sound Factory is a mature business, established in 2003, so it had plateaued in growth in the years prior to us taking over. Our biggest challenges since the beginning of the year have been re-branding and re-stocking. We’ve been trying really hard to reach out to the community to make sure that people know that Sound Factory is still here, under new management, and still independently owned and operated by local musicians, FOR local musicians! We’ve also spent the last couple of months diversifying our inventory, making sure that we are stocked up on the brands and products everyone wants and needs. We are also carrying vintage instruments and gear to cater to the more experienced and particular customers.
So what do you have going for you?
I have been extremely fortunate in that I have the most amazing team working with me on the rebirth of Sound Factory. My partner from day one of this endeavour has been Kirby Gerrie, who defected from one of our competitors to manage the new Sound Factory! He is one of the most knowledgeable and experienced music retail professionals in northern BC. He is also an excellent drummer who is very well respected in our music community. Our instructors and admin/sales and sales staff are also exceptional … we truly have some of the best musicians and human beings working with us!
How has your growth matched with your vision from the outset? What are your plans for the future?
Re-growing Sound Factory is a constant work in progress. We made some big changes from the outset, bringing in used and consignment instruments and gear as well as used vinyl records, in order to expand our customer base.
We are now in the midst of renovating our existing space and expanding the music school to include an acoustic drum room where we can have two full-sized drum kits side-by-side, so our drum students can get LOUD (we currently teach drums on electronic kits)!
We’re also creating a rehearsal and performance space that will be available for rent, as well as a space to do high-quality recordings. We are also looking into becoming the exclusive northern BC dealers of some outstanding BC-made and sourced instruments, in order to conscientiously support our local economy. My professional background is in music administration, so we will eventually be expanding our lines of business to include music management and administration services that are not commonly offered in northern BC, such as copyright administration, grant writing, booking and artist management.
Are you plugged in to the PG community?
YES! Being an active part of the Prince George and northern BC community is the driving force behind everything we do at Sound Factory. Everyone at Sound Factory is an active musician of some nature, and it’s so important to be able to help foster and empower our music community and music scene from a business perspective. We’ve started doing this by providing corporate partnership in the form of cash sponsorship and in-kind services to local community groups such as the Coldsnap Festival, CFUR (campus radio), the Legion/Mad Loon Entertainment, and other local nonprofit organizations. Keep an eye out for us at ArtsWells this summer!
We have eyes everywhere at ArtsWells, but first we take Manhattan.You mentioned when we spoke earlier that you’re making major inroads in accessibility, is that right?
As the mom of two young kids, and knowing how much music education benefitted me at a young age, it is so important to me that Sound Factory’s music school offers accessible and flexible music education options to the community at large. My son has some developmental delays, so I’ve been learning more and more about how much music can help children to overcome social and communication obstacles, so I am also looking into catering some music classes and lessons to kids with ASD and other developmental delays. I want everyone in our community to know that Sound Factory is an extremely warm and family-friendly environment, for people of all ages, across the spectrum.
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