For 92 years, the Alamo Music Center has adapted to survive
When Adriana Flores recalls the 92-year history of the family business, a phrase frequently spoken by those close to her always comes to mind: âAdapt or dieâ.
The motto explains how the Alamo Music Center has remained a stronghold since Adriana’s grandfather Alfredo Flores Sr. first started the business by selling pianos from his front porch during the Great Depression.
âHe connected to music in a special way,â says Adriana, adding that her grandfather had never played an instrument but believed in the power of music to improve lives. “He knew it was like a medicine that could make you feel better when times were bad.”
Alamo Music Center continues to be a family business with the founder’s granddaughter, Adriana Flores, as vice president and her nephew, Patrick Marr, as vice president of sales. Here, the two hold a photo of founder Alfredo Flores Sr. which can be found in the North Main Avenue store.
Now run by the third and fourth generations of the family, Adriana is vice-president; his nephew Zach Marr, 34, as president and CEO; and his nephew Patrick Marr, 29, as vice president of sales – Alamo Music Center has gone from that front porch to a store on North Main Avenue that opened in 1965 and to a second location on Babcock Road that has opened in the 1980s. The family has also built a strong online business, something that has grown exponentially during the pandemic and through its popular YouTube channel.
When COVID-19 initially drove retail stores to close in 2020, Alamo Music Center had to lay off half of its staff. However, as online orders poured in with people looking for a new hobby as they were quarantined at home, Adriana says they found themselves chasing Amazon over delivery delays. quick and were finally able to add all of its staff while hiring new employees.
âMusic is that thing that people can turn to, like they did during the Depression,â she says. âIt was like, ‘I need something in my life to fill me up in a positive way, and I’m stuck at home. What can I do safely and how can I make my family more cohesive? We felt blessed that we were able to help people in this way.
They have fulfilled orders from all over the country and have also serviced long-time local customers. When music students at the University of Texas at San Antonio and the University of the Incarnate Word needed instruments to complete their 2020 spring semester at home, Adriana personally conducted keyboards for them. âBeing there for them when they need us is what my grandfather and father always talked about,â she says.
Thanks to Zach and Patrick, the store also grabbed the world’s attention with its YouTube guitar channel, run by expert player Chris McKee. After the success of this first channel, men also created piano and synthesizer chains which have thousands of subscribers. âI like my nephews to be younger than me because they aren’t afraid to take risks,â says Adriana, 50, mother of two. âYou can’t put your head in the sand. You have to adapt. “