The Chatham-Kent Music Schools Inc., formerly known as the Tilbury Music Centre, is pleased to announce an open house of their second location at 530 Victoria Avenue in Chatham for Saturday, September 15, 2018 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Now celebrating its third year in business, the Chatham-Kent Music Schools Inc. has seen positive growth which has allowed them to open a second location and several satellite locations. The schools offers music lessons on a variety of instruments including piano, violin, guitar, and vocal lessons. In addition, they also sell entry level musical instruments and accessories such as guitar strings and music stands.
“The community has been very supportive and we are already accepting students for our first fall session in Chatham.” said James Mason, owner of the Chatham-Kent Music Schools Inc. “Also, we are also going to be expanding into other areas of Chatham-Kent by offering lessons once a week in Thamesville, Merlin, and Wallaceburg starting early 2019. This is an exciting time for us.”
“Our growth has been steady and consistent. We have over 170 music students now,” said Mason. “We started at 12 back in 2016. I employ six teachers and it’s going extremely well. We seem to be really filling a need where we are and we’re drawing students from as far away as Windsor.”
Mason attributes a key element of his success to the Chatham-Kent Small Business Centre Starter Company Plus program and the $5,000 small business grant he received. “They were amazing. They’ve been a huge help to me all the way long, offering support and programs, asking questions and getting me in touch with resources,” said James. “Even if I had never received the grant, it would have been worth the three days I invested going to the program because I learned so much from the course.”
As part of the Starter Company Plus program, James was coached in developing a business plan, working on the financials of his business to ensure it would be viable, and learning key strategies for success. “With a small business, especially a sole proprietorship, there are different ways to structure your company and doing things such as accounting and taxes. Little things you would spend a fortune paying consultants for are all available free through the municipality, which is awesome!” added Mason.
“I’ve had the pleasure to work with James and the Chatham-Kent Music Schools Inc. for quite some time now and have been able to see them grow, adjust their plans based on customer needs, and really find a core focus for the business,” said Rosemarie Montgomery, Business Consultant with the Small Business Centre. “The schools have such a wonderful dedication to building a vibrant musical community that it’s a delight to see them be successful.”
Before opening his business, James spent 25 years managing large grocery stores and hundreds of employees before deciding to go into business for himself in August 2016. He approached the consultants of the Chatham-Kent Small Business Centre to see what assistance was available. “I went into this thinking I knew everything,” said Mason. “I tell you my eyes were wide open at how much I learned and how much I applied coming out of the program, almost immediately, to the business. It had a positive impact from the day after the course ended for me. For instance, I changed things about how we were set up internally for taxes. There were so many things I took away from it.”
As his business grows, he is confident he knows where to turn for good advice and information: “One thing I will say is that Economic Development really gets that small business is the future. They get that they need to support it and they are behind it, especially the Chatham-Kent Small Business Centre. I can’t say enough good things about them!”
Marketing and Communications Officer, Economic Development Services
Municipality of Chatham-Kent
315 King Street West
Chatham, ON N7M 5K8
Phone: 519.352.8401 x2039