March 13, 2013 — During normal business hours, you can usually hear the fast-paced finger-picking of Bluegrass music blaring from the outdoor speakers at Sturgill's Music Center.
It's a sound that was nearly quenched for good by the floodwaters of 2010, according to owner Alma Sturgill.
“I wasn't going to go back after the flood,” she recalls. “But then Gary Cotton, Chad Gilbert and David Carroll came and asked if they could hold a raffle for a custom guitar and donate the proceeds to re-opening the shop.”
“They raised $1,700, which doesn't sound like a whole lot, but it was enough,” she added.
Alma and her late husband, Darvin, went into business in 1962 as owners of a filling station. Shortly into that venture, they decided to take a different road with their business.
“It was a hard life for us. It wasn't long before we decided to sell the station and open a music shop. Darvin was playing a lot at the time and it seemed like a good thing for us to do,” Sturgill said.
The Sturgill business would evolve over the years. At one point, the store even sold televisions and other household appliances in addition to musical instruments and records.
“It was a different time back then,” Alma said. You were freer as a business owner. We worked together with a lot of other businesses as well. If we didn't have a part or couldn't handle a repair, we would work with other shops in town to solve the problem.”
“Things just aren't that way now. You can't work with your competition anymore.”
Even though the economic climate has changed for local business owners over the past 50 years, Sturgill believes there are still some universal truths that can be passed on to younger entrepreneurs looking to make their mark.
“You just have to work hard if you want to get ahead. If I can reopen my store at my age with such a small amount of money, I figure anyone can make it. All it takes to be successful in business is hard work and always being there to serve your customers,” she said.
Joe Lewis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 286-4201.