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Kramer takes over Conrad’s Music Service

Kramer takes over Conrad’s Music Service
Kramer takes over Conrad’s Music Service
Brad Kramer, new owner of Conrad's Music Service in downtown Corydon, picks up a trumpet last week in the store's entryway. Photo by Ross Schulz

After 125 years, Conrad’s Music Service is no longer owned by a Conrad, the founding family of the music service business on the historic square in downtown Corydon.
If all goes according to plan, new owner and long-time employee Brad Kramer hopes no one will notice because they’ll have the same service from the same location as has been the case for as long as anyone alive can remember.
Kramer officially took over the store on Sept. 9.
‘This keeps everything the same,’ Charlie Conrad, former owner and grandson of the founder of the company, said. ‘It keeps it in Corydon. It keeps employees here.’
Conrad said that most likely would not have been the case if the company was put on the market to sell.
Kramer, who has spent time as band director at North Harrison High School (1979-1985 and helped the program again in the late 1990s and early 2000s) said the main reason he ‘stepped up to the plate’ and purchased the store was to see it continue business as usual in downtown Corydon.
‘When it came down to it, I really couldn’t imagine Conrad’s not being here,’ Kramer said.
Kramer’s wife, Elizabeth (Liz), also said she couldn’t imagine her husband not working at Conrad’s.
‘That was the deciding factor,’ Brad said.
The Harrison County Economic Development Corp., through its Small Business Loan Program, helped Kramer with the purchase.
‘Conrad Music has been an anchor in Harrison County since the late 1800s and the HCEDC is proud to play a role in continuing this tradition,’ Tom Fields, director of communications and business expansion at the HCEDC, said. ‘We can think of no better way to kick off our new Small Business Loan Program.’
Founded as Conrad & Son Piano Co. by C.W. Conrad and son Claude in 1890, the store expanded to a full line of band and orchestral instruments in 1925 under Hurley D. Conrad.
In 1960, it was passed down to Charlie and his twin brother, Paul. Paul retired in 1997 and now lives in Costa Rica, but Charlie owned and operated the store until September.
Other than selling instruments at the store, Conrad’s outfits school bands in Indiana and Kentucky and helps recruit students for the bands.
‘Keep band healthy in schools, that’s our emphasis; that’s what we want to do,’ Conrad said.
Kramer and Conrad, who said he’ll be around to help out at the store as needed, both have teaching degrees as do a number of the other employees at Conrad’s, showcasing the importance the company puts on teaching music.
Many of the employees have been around for a long time and some spend their entire adult life working and retiring from the store, Conrad said.
One long-time employee is Violet Sanders, who started in 1955, in accounts payable.
‘Conrad’s has been good to me,’ she said. ‘Charlie’s mom and brother hired me, and I fell in love with Conrad’s.’
Conrad said Sanders is an integral part of the store.
‘She’s a big help,’ Kramer said. ‘I wouldn’t know what to do without her.’
Conrad’s Music Service is located at 220 N. Elm St.