This week’s Shop Small features our friends at Heid Music, Wisconsin.

How long have you all been in business? When did you start selling ukuleles?

Heid Music was founded in 1948. Three generations as a family-owned retail store later, we’re currently celebrating our 70th-anniversary year. 

Tell us a fun fact about your business!

Todd Heid’s grandfather, Peter “Duke” (Papa) Heid, co-founded Heid Music in 1948. He was also a musician, having been a veteran of the United States Army Band. Seventy years later, we now employ nearly 100 people and have five retail locations in Wisconsin.

What kind of in-store events have you done or plan to do for the ukulele?

At our Green Bay store, several of our staff members belong to a ukulele club, which has performed in the store before.

We are also leveraging the growing interest in ukuleles by partnering with community organizations. For example, we are partnering with local libraries to offer ukulele rentals. It’s a fun, unintimidating way to get introduced to a ukulele and begin playing! Plus, it helps get the Heid Music name in front of beginning musicians so that we can establish a long-term relationship and help support them in their ukulele-playing journey with additional musical accessories, repair services and more.

We also partner with the Sun Prairie Public Library and Prairie Music & Arts to offer Strum & Sing Workshops for guitar and ukulele enthusiasts, grades six to adult. Participants should have basic instrumental experience and bring a personal instrument for use. The next class will be held May 19, from 10:00 to 11:00 am, at the Sun Prairie Public Library (1350 Linnerud Dr.). The program is being offered at no charge to the community.

Finally, last year, we were a music education supporter/venue for the annual Mile of Music festival in downtown Appleton, Wis. We were fortunate to host several workshops at our Appleton store, including a ukulele workshop that drew in approximately 100 ukulele enthusiasts.

What do you contribute to your success in selling ukuleles?

Ukuleles are a hot trend! Everyone seems to want this compact instrument. It’s a relatively simple instrument to pick up, and people are drawn to its refreshing easy listening (think summerlike sounds and beach vibes). Plus, with the recent fame of artists like Grace VanderWaal, the recognition being brought to the ukulele market is growing at a fast pace among young musicians, as well.

Relative to Amahi Ukuleles, the price point (case included) really helps us sell several a week.

How do you display your ukuleles?

We have a “ukulele tree” and a brand display. Ukulele-seekers generally gravitate toward the taller tree.

Have you noticed any new trends in ukulele customer buying habits?

Sopranos used to be the most popular in many of our stores, but people seem to becoming practical and want the bigger size. Concert ukuleles are the most popular, as of now.

What is your favorite Amahi ukulele?

Jon Tabers-Kwak, a Music Enthusiast and Education Coordinator at our Green Bay store, really likes the Snail series. While we do not currently have any in-stock, he commented that it’s a great, unique instrument.

Thank you to Heid Music for the interview and all of the great insights into their business and the ukulele community! Stay tuned and remember to Shop Small!