Business hits the right note in Inverness

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Working for a musical instrument shop for years allowed Paul Bowie to use his passion and knowledge to stock the best brands for customers to enjoy. When the shop was sold, he and his wife, Wilma, spotted a gap in the market to use their passion for music to open their own shop, Ness Music, earlier this year.

Name of business: Ness Music, 55 Academy Street, Inverness.

What did you do before setting? I worked at The Music Station, which sold musical instruments, as a purchasing and sales adviser, choosing which brands of guitar, instrument and accessories to stock ensuring we had a wide range of quality instruments.

What inspired you to set up the business? For many decades I’ve wanted to open my own musical instrument retail shop. When I heard the owner of The Music Station, Brian Philip, had decided to retire and sell his business it meant there was just one musical instrument shop in the city. This gave me the opportunity to make my dream come true, and I decided to take the big step to start my own shop in Inverness. It was at that point I went to Business Gateway Highland for advice on how to go about setting up and running my own business. 

When did you set up the business and what does your business do? Ness Music started trading on Saturday, March 17th. We stock mainly guitars, other stringed instruments and accessories, turntables and Hi-Fi separates. We also provide guitar and instrument set up and are a service centre. 

What have been the high and low points so far? Getting up and running and identifying the right suppliers in a short period of time was challenging, but the satisfaction of opening quickly and getting the brands I’d hoped for in stock feels like a real achievement. We’ve had fantastic feedback from customers about the products we sell and the high quality of servicing we offer. They really appreciate our expertise and advice.

Where do you see the business in five years? I’d like to grow and develop, with an exciting, wide range of products and a strong customer base that loved the Ness Music experience! I’d also love the shop to be widely known.

What advice would you give to anyone looking to start up a business in Inverness? Invest time and effort into researching the type of business you want to start and what demand there is for the product or service you want to offer. Location is also key. Visit Business Gateway Highland for advice too. The team helped me with my business plan and cash flow forecasts, something I’d never had to do before for myself. I also attended some of their free workshops, which were fantastic, covering everything to do with business management. My adviser was very knowledgeable and helped ensure I started my business journey confidently and with everything in place. 

What would you change to make your business life easier? To grow to the point where I can employ more staff, giving me a well-earned day off!

Find out how Business Gateway Highland can help your business by visiting their local pages or calling 01463 898 466.

Outwith the area? Find your local Business Gateway office or call 0300 013 4753.

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