02 | 22 | 2018

Giving Back To Our Neighbors


Damm Music Center Strings for Food

Each November, the Independent Music Store Owners Group goes promotes "Strings for Food", an effort to collect food for food banks in the towns where our stores are located.  This is a completely voluntary effort by our member stores, coordinated through the iMSO forums, and supported financially by string manufacturers, including D'Addario, Curt Mangan, and SIT Strings.

Each iMSO member sets up their own promotion, and chooses the food bank to which they will deliver the collected food.

On the day selected by the member store, members of the community bring in guitars for restringing.  The only acceptable payment on that day is a donation of non-perishable food, and the only expense the owner incurs is an investment of time and labor for one day.   When the day is over, the iMSO member delivers the collected food to the selected food bank or agency, and the work is done.

Kevin Damm, owner of Damm Music Center in Wichita, KS, (see photo above)  reports that his store did free restrings on 87 instruments during his Strings for Food event, with the much-needed food goods going to the Catholic Charities Help Center Food pantry.  Similar results were reported all around America, as independent music store owners pitched in to help.  Watermelon Music in Davis, CA changed the strings on 154 guitars in one day, while Uptown Music in Keizer, OR changed 160 sets.

In addtition to helping the community, this promotion frequently brings some welcome local publicity for the iMSO member's store.

Backstage Music, in Starkville, MS, participated in the Strings for Food program for the first time in 2011.  "The reaction from the community was great", said Allen McBroom, one of the owners of Backstage Music. "We had a blast restringing 53 guitars in one day.  We enlisted help from well-known local players, and were able to deliver over 600 pounds of food to our local food banks at the end of the day.  Both of our area newspapers gave us front page coverage, and a TV station 30 miles away gave us featured coverage on their local news, airing the spot seen here several times over the next few days.  Without belonging to the iMSO, our store would never have thought of doing this as a way of giving back to our community.".

Together, the Independent Music Store Owners group collected over 10,000 pounds food for hungry neighbors in 2011. 

Strings for Food is another example of how independent music stores show their connection to their communities, and how they work, not just to make a profit and stay open, but to also give back to their communities in a meaningful manner.   


iMSO In Action