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A musical marriage

Jackson Bell

If anyone can vouch for the meaning of “the better half,” that

age-old euphemism husbands use to describe their wives, it would be

John Petersen.


The reason? He has owned and operated the musical instrument

retail and repair store Petersen’s Band & Orchestra for more than 30

years. Three years ago, his wife, Nedre, became his business partner

and took charge of marketing -- increasing clientele astronomically


and doubling sales.

Her strategy? She said the secret was to go with what she knows.

And being a mother with two elementary school-aged children, she said

she understands what parents -- who make up more than 90% of the

store’s business -- want.

“We call it ‘mom-brain marketing,’” Nedre said.

Two examples of that style are they roll over previous rental

credits when customers “size up” -- trading in a violin designed for


an elementary school student to one large enough for middle-schoolers

-- and giving discounts to school music classes.

Petersen’s Band & Orchestra began in 1971 as a wind-instrument

repair shop and slowly evolved into a repair and retail store

specializing in woodwind, brass and string instruments. Half of its

business is in rentals, with the other half split between retail and

repair revenues.

At the heart of the couple’s business, however, is their love of


music and desire to share it with youngsters. That passion motivated

them to donate 5% of their proceeds from sales to school bands and


“We both believe the same thing -- that music changes the world

for the better,” John said.