Mike Gilliam grew up taking piano lessons. But unlike many children, for whom that meant learning to read music and eventually playing a song or two, Mike spent his time learning how to tune and repair the piano. His father was a man with a sharp ear for both playing instruments and tuning pianos – who was also blind. Although Mike had no visual impairments himself, he became very adept at making repair adjustments by feeling and touching, rather than by sight.
REAL PASSION GOES
Mike opened Edmond Music in Edmond in 1974. Eventually one store evolved into three full-line music stores in Edmond, Norman and Oklahoma City, serving the local community with quality musical instruments and supplies. His passion for music is what draws customers in, but it’s the passion his employees share for getting to know their customers that keeps them coming back. Some of the same people who began shopping at Mike’s stores in the 1970s are still customers today.
“We owe all of our success to our customers. You can have the best products, the best service and the best employees, but without your customers you don’t have a business.”– Mike Gilliam
While he appreciates the growth Edmond Music has experienced, you can sense he takes equal pride in the relationships he’s built. Mike speaks of growing up old school, where you made solid, lasting business partnerships. He’s worked with the same attorney since 1973, and the same accountant since 1979. This investment in people extends to his employees as well. Mike points out he has very little turnover, and has never burned a bridge with a former employee.
When it comes to customers, the real reward for Mike is not simply in selling a product, but in helping them pursue a passion. For many people, music represents their most deeply personal feelings and shapes how they define themselves. In Mike’s words, “Music is a basic emotion. There’s a lot of passion.” For many of his customers, being able to share that gift by donating instruments to a school or introducing their own children to music lessons is one of their greatest achievements and one that Mike is happy to help make possible.
“There’s no question that when you give a child music, that’s something that will be with them for the rest of their lives, through the good times and the bad. That’s something that can never be taken from them.”– Mike Gilliam
In that same sense, Mike’s dad gave him music as a child. Perhaps not in a literal context, but in the idea that he taught him a skill and instilled in him a passion – one what will be with him for the rest of his life. One that can never be taken from him.
Stories like Mike’s are the kind we are proud to be a part of at Oklahoma Fidelity Bank. One man’s passion can ignite a spark that burns brightly for generations – inspiring company missions that reach beyond increased sales and profits to touching lives and nurturing passions.
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