by Lorie Lewis Ham
KRL is always looking for new places to write about, and when I discovered Kratos Music Center in Selma, CA I knew this was something I wanted to check out because it seemed to be so much more than just your typical music store. So we chat with one of the owners, Jeff Dodd, who owns the store with his wife Robin.
KRL: When did you first open the store?
Jeff: My wife and I bought the store in December 2013, but the store has actually been around since 2007.
KRL: What all does your store provide and what services do you offer?
Jeff: We sell musical instruments, music accessories and music related gift items. We provide music lessons for voice, piano, guitar, bass guitar, drums, flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet & ukulele. We rent band instruments to students and adults, we repair a variety of instruments and we provide sound & lighting rentals.
KRL: What is your background in music and why did you want to open a music store?
Jeff: I played drums in the school band starting when I was 12 years old. I then started playing the drum set and performed in several groups throughout my life. During that time, I was also able to learn guitar, bass guitar, and some piano. For the last four and a half years I have been performing with my band Prestige throughout the valley and the state. Loving and playing music, I always thought it would be fun to own a music store. In 2013 that opportunity came up when I was contacted by the former owners who let me know they were planning on selling and my wife and I thought about it and believed that it was a great opportunity.
KRL: What makes your store unique?
Jeff: I think it is the small-town customer service and the variety of services we have available, in addition we are able to provide free, live music. Since we bought the store, I have always told people that we wouldn’t be able to compete with the large music stores in the “Big City” so we would make up for it with our personal service. We provide great service, quality products, and the musical knowledge to assist our customers. Regardless if you are a seasoned musician, someone just starting out in music, or a parent or grandparent trying to find the right item for your child, we take the time to assist you to find exactly what you need. A high percentage of our business is from repeat customers and referrals.
KRL: I understand you have an open mic night, so can you tell us more about that?
Jeff: Our Open Mic Nights are usually held on the first Friday of the month at 7 p.m. at the store. Summer has been extremely busy with other music events, so we have had to postpone a few recently. Open Mic Nights give musicians an opportunity to perform some music in front of an audience. When we first bought the store, this was one of the events that I wanted to sponsor because most Open Mic Nights are held in coffee houses, where you are required to purchase drinks or in a bar where you have to be over 21. Our Open Mic Night is always free, open to all ages and is family friendly. It includes all different genres of music and performers of all ages. The one thing that brings everyone together is the music. Usually half of the attendees don’t perform, but just come to listen to music in a great atmosphere. You never know who will be performing since we have had professional musicians to beginners, but one thing that always amazes us is the amount of talent we have in the area.
KRL: Do you have any other events in your store?
Jeff: We also host acoustic concerts at our store and have been alternating them each month with our Open Mic Night. We have established bands from the area that come in and perform free acoustic concerts. These are bands that usually perform with amplifiers and larger sound systems, so it’s a nice alternative to hear acoustic versions of their music in an intimate setting.
KRL: Are you involved in other arts events in your town?
Jeff: Since music is timeless and anyone of any age can enjoy it, I have been involved in several of the events for the Senior Citizens, including having a music informational booth at the Senior Fair, providing music for the senior dances and providing Karaoke for them. The Selma Arts Center, where our students perform during our Spring Music Recital, is a beautiful venue and has numerous shows. We provided some of the musical equipment in one of their last show, School of Rock, and try to assist them when we can.
KRL: Exactly where are you located, and what are your hours?
Jeff: Kratos Music Center & Gifts is located at 2018 Second St., in Downtown Selma
Hours: Mon.-Fri.: 2:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. and Sat.: 10:00 a. m – 6:00 p.m.
Telephone (559) 891-1952
Facebook: Kratos Music
Watch for a profile of Jeff’s band here in KRL, and for event notices.