Carlson Music Center in Alexandria is now a third-generation company – Alexandria Echo Press

ALEXANDRIA — Now a three-generation company,

Carlson Music Center

in downtown Alexandria is owned and operated by Katie Girard. She has actually owned the business for almost two years, buying it in 2020 from her father, Ron Carlson, who bought it from his father, Sid Carlson.

Sid Carlson

“It’s an honor for me,” said Girard to be able to maintain the family business. “It’s really cool. My dad had a successful music business that I can now continue.

And in fact, his father still has a successful music business in the Twin Cities as he still owns and operates

Carlson’s Piano World

, which is the exclusive dealer of Yamaha acoustic and digital pianos in the region. Indeed, in 2017,

piano world

was awarded “Dealer of the Year” by Yamaha’s keyboard division in recognition of its outstanding performance.

Ron Carlson said his father founded the Carlson Music Center in downtown Alexandria in 1948. During this time, his father continued to work at area high schools as a part-time band manager. Carlson noted that it will be the Carlson Music Center’s 75th anniversary next year.

CarlsonDeliveryVehicle.PNG
Sid Carlson, who founded the Carlson Music Center in 1948, stands next to his first delivery vehicle.

Photo added

In 1988, Carlson purchased the business from his father. After being located in a few different locations downtown, the store was moved in 1998 to its current location at 901 Broadway Street.

Girard, who participated in

Carlson Music Center

much of her life, had worked at Carlos Creek Winery as a wedding coordinator when she decided to buy her father’s store.

“I decided I wanted to focus on Carlson’s instead,” she said, noting that she really enjoys working with people and watching people embark on the musical journey. “It really is a fun industry and we work with all ages.”

She said the store has 13 different instructors who teach just about everything, including violin, band, drums, piano, guitar, ukulele and more. They also offer singing lessons.

CarlsonMusicGuitars.jpg
Carlson Music Center in Alexandria offers a variety of instruments to choose from, including all different types of guitars and other stringed instruments.

Photo added

Girard and Carlson have musical talents – she grew up playing the piano and he says he knows the first eight bars of around 20 songs. Girard said his father was more of a master of marketing and business management than a master of music.

She said a few of her siblings were definitely more musical than her.

Awaiting her plans for the business, Girard said she would like to expand the course curriculum. People can take courses online, but Girard said it’s important to know that local courses have many benefits and that’s why she wants to expand this area.

Carlson said the music store has long held music events at night, but with the pandemic and other factors, there haven’t been. But, all of that is changing.

Girard said she was thrilled to announce that the store will be hosting an open mic night next week. The event will take place on Tuesday, July 12 starting at 5 p.m. Musicians are asked to call the store at 320-763-4011 to reserve a time slot.

Carlson said each hour there will be four different locations available and the event will take place outside of the store. However, in case of bad weather, it will be moved inside.

“It was just something that was needed,” Girard said. “We hope this will inspire students to play, keep playing and encourage all musicians to show their talents. It’s to bring a sense of community.

She also noted that being part of the community and getting involved in the community is something she enjoys. She loves sponsoring organizations or events in the area, such as the Central Lakes Symphony Orchestra, the Vikingland Band Festival or the Saturday Art Market.

If anyone has any questions about the event or the lessons or instruments, Girard said to reach out.

“We’ll connect you with the right instructor for the lessons and with the right equipment,” she said. “Just reach out and we can help you.”