"A place where customers become friends" -Dan Strait, 1963

The Proud History of the Strait Music Company 

In 1963, Dan Strait moved to Austin, TX (a “college town”) to open up a Baldwin Piano franchise, Strait Piano and Organ. Dan was able to obtain the franchise opportunity given his time as a salesperson at a similar establishment in Houston.  Prior to selling pianos, he proudly served his country in the Navy in World War II.  Strait Piano and Organ had humble beginnings... Dan had one piano technician, he was the salesperson and he had one person helping him with the accounting books. His motto was “a place where customers become friends”, which is still our guiding principle to this very day.

Later in the 1960’s, Dan began selling band and orchestral instruments so Strait Piano and Organ became Strait Music Company. Buying trends and consumer demand had always followed popular music and it was around this time when a little band called the Beatles burst on the scene playing VOX Amps.  Dan had easy access to the VOX product lines, (Baldwin owned them) so that’s when Strait Music entered the Rock ‘n Roll product space selling guitars and amps.

As the music scene in Austin, TX became more robust, Strait Music followed suit.  Through the decade of the 1970’s, the store expanded into more space within its shopping center location at 9th and Lamar.  By this time, Strait Music sold everything… pianos, guitars, drums, band, orchestra, pro-audio, organs, keyboards, sheet music and more… Many famous Texas Rock groups, Outlaw Country icons and classically trained musicians called Strait Music their home store throughout it all. The late 70’s was also when the second generation of Straits had become involved in the company. Robert Strait had graduated from the University of Texas and became involved on the management side, while Dan’s younger son, David, began his career in sales.  

In 1981, Austin (and Strait Music in particular) were hit hard by natural disaster.  The Memorial Day Flood of 1981 claimed many lives and our 9th and Lamar location was ground zero as Shoal Creek had come outside its banks and flooded the company with 8 and 1/2 feet of water. Strait Music lost nearly all of its inventory and one of the iconic scenes of the flood was pianos floating down Lamar on their way to Town Lake. Through help from many gracious customers and support from loyal manufacturers, the company was able to continue operating after the tragedy. Shortly thereafter, Dan Strait retired and handed over control of the company to his oldest son, Robert.

The 90’s brought more catastrophic flooding in Christmas of 1991 and once again it found the Lamar location under water.  After a second post-flood recovery, the decade brought expansion in the company.  Strait Music had outgrown its location at 9th and Lamar and was able to upsize to a new location in downtown at 5th and West Ave (NO MORE FLOODING!).  The store also opened its second location in 1998 in the Cedar Park area, a location that is still there today.

By 2001, Strait Music once again needed to move to a larger space.  Robert purchased the former Lakehills 4 Cinema and built out our current flagship store at Ben White and South Lamar.  In 2006, the third generation of Straits had become involved in the business when Robert’s son, Clint, had graduated from Colorado State University and had returned home to work alongside his father and Uncle David.

The 2010’s saw the company drastically expand its band and orchestra offerings.  Strait is now the largest independent band and orchestra dealer in Austin and takes great pride in servicing our local schools and families.

Not to brag (but also to brag), Strait Music is now one of the largest, most revered independent music retailers in the United States.  Clint Strait received one of the highest industry honors when he was nominated and served on the National Association of Music Merchants’ (NAMM) Board of Directors from 2015-2018.  The company has also received numerous music retail dealer awards and is on the All-time Winners list in the Austin Chronicle’s Best of Austin for Best Music Store. We pride ourselves in how we sell everything from Les Pauls to fine violas to mixing boards and everything in between… And we cater to everyone from total beginners to famous musicians.  Our repair department is most likely the largest in Texas...  We service everything we sell!

Robert has now taken more of an advisory role, while Executive Vice President, Clint, and his incredible team run the day to day operations of the company.  Strait Music has persevered through two natural disasters and numerous economic recessions in the 1980’s, 2001 and 2008... a testament to the company, but also our loyal customers.  In 6 decades, there have been a handful of acquisitions of local competitors to help build the business, but one thing has always held true… an unbridled passion for customer service, a unique in-store experience, a reputation for great gear at great prices and a fun family atmosphere for employees have made Strait Music the #1 Music store in Austin, Texas and truly a place “where customers become friends”.  

 

 

Loading...