by Tim Pratt, the musician, has played guitar and written his own songs since the mid 70’s, before this was the popular thing to do. Tim Pratt, the businessman, is President and one of two owners of Dietze Music, the largest independent music store in Nebraska. Throughout his entire life, Tim has followed his heart and let his love of music and love of neighbor guide his life and his career.
Tim is not unlike his predecessor and the patriarch of Dietze Music, August Dietze, who opened Dietze Music in 1927 in Lincoln, Nebraska, following the demise of the silent picture movies where young August played musical accompaniment. Mr. Dietze opened his first store as a music repair shop and gradually added instrument sales and music lessons. Dietze Music survived the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and the 10 years of the Great Depression to become a musical destination in the 1950’s and 60’s for famous and budding musicians throughout the Midwest.
“It was more than just a music store. It was a scene, it was a place for us. It let a lot of us do this for a living.” From Boxcar Willie, who taught lessons there in the 1950’s, to others who found their start at Dietze Music. Dietze Music continues to attract the best and the brightest and in 2013 was named Retailer of the Year by the Nebraska Retail Federation. The award cited the long Nebraska history of Dietze Music, their dedication to music for young people and their ability to adapt to rapid changes in the retail industry.
I wanted to discover the secret as to how Dietze Music has successfully flourished as an independent music store for 89 years, so I called the charismatic and sincere President of the company, Tim Pratt. Tim started his career part time at a competitive music store in 1989 working in a part time position that gave him store discounts. Tim was offered a fulltime job by Dietze in 1991. Tim had many years of retail experience and knew how to listen and take care of the customer. He brought this same philosophy to his interactions with coworkers. Tim is an excellent sales person and his passion for music, ability to meet the needs of the customers, and strong work ethic were exactly what propelled Dietze Music to offer Tim an ownership and leadership role within the company. The two current owners of Dietze Music all carry the flag of the past owners in their dedication to supporting music education in the community. Their mantra is that music is something that people can do all their lives. (From a marketing perspective, this is known as lifetime customers!)
Succession success requires a good solid business. The music industry is a tough business in which to find and hold on to success, yet Dietze Music has done exactly this for almost 90 years and is still going strong. Tim explained that all the owners have been promoted from within and have exhibited the passion, dedication and work ethic that is necessary to succeed. He credits management’s culture of open communication and meeting the goals of the employees in a personal way. Nearly all of the Dietze employees are musicians involved with churches, schools or bands or are teaching and giving educational seminars. They share their enthusiasm and personal knowledge with customers and for a select few, the job becomes the fulfillment of a lifelong calling.
Tim exonerates that to live your life filled with music and make a living at it is a glorious goal. I could not agree more, Tim, and wish you and your team many more successful years bringing the joy of music to young and old alike, for a very long time.