The Proud History of the Strait Music Company
In 1963, Dan Strait moved his family from Houston to Austin when an opportunity arose
to open a Baldwin piano franchise. That first store, Strait Piano and Organ, occupied a
small space in a shopping center along Lamar at 9th St. Dan’s motto was “where
customers become friends”--a sentiment that endures to this day!
In 1967, Strait Piano and Organ was incorporated and became Strait Music Company. At
around the same time our product range expanded to include all types of instruments,
from guitars to band & orchestra. Over the years, we have further expanded our products
to include pro audio, recording gear, keyboards, drums and much more. Dan acquired
leases on the neighboring retail spaces and eventually Strait Music had quadrupled its
size, sharing the block with the original Whole Foods Market.
The catastrophic Memorial Day flood of 1981 claimed many lives in the area and nearly
“sank” the business and all of its inventory. There was over 7 feet of water in the piano
department alone and pianos floated off down the street. We had no flood insurance
either. Through help from our vendors and a lot of good loyal customers, the business
stayed afloat. After those dark days, Dan decided it was time to turn the reigns over to
his son Robert, who is still the company president today. Robert endured a second flood
in the holiday season of 1991 as well.
The need for more floor space (and less flooding!) prompted a move to a larger building
in 1995, formerly occupied by a Toyota dealership at 5th and West St. in downtown
Austin. That property is now the Monarch building.
1998 saw the launch of our second location at the intersection of Highways 183 and 620
to serve the growing Northwest Austin area.
In 2001, Strait Music made the move to its biggest and best location yet, the Lakehills
Plaza shopping center at the corner of Ben White and South Lamar. The building had
been the Lakehills 3 Theater so an extensive remodel was required, which included
leveling the sloping theater floor. That location is now our flagship store and we have no
plans to move anytime soon!
A real family affair, all of Dan Strait's children have been actively involved with the store
over the years, including daughters Nancy and Danna and son David Strait, who has
managed our piano department since 1987. In 2006, the first 3rd generation Strait,
Robert's son Clinton, came on board and now serves as the company’s vice president.
Over 50 years and still counting, Strait Music has mirrored its Austin community in so
many ways. We have grown, but still have that small town family-owned feel and you
can definitely say we have kept it weird. We're proud of our history and we still operate
on the same principles set forth by Dan Strait all those years ago. We still pride
ourselves as a place “where customers become friends”…