If anyone can vouch for the meaning of “the better half,” that
age-old euphemism husbands use to describe their wives, it would be
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
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.