Gary Bennett has been in the music industry longer than I’ve been alive. He’s somewhat like the grandfather of traveling road reps or, at least, that’s how I see him. He works with shops that are going on 2nd and 3rd generations of family ownership and has been since they opened. GB travels multiple times a year to his sales territory which now consists of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Nebraska, and Nevada. Not many industries still employ traveling salesmen and we have one of the best in the industry. He’s been with our company through many, many changes, supporting our product lines the whole way, including Teton. If you live in one of the areas I mentioned and own a Teton, chances are it was sold to your local store by Gary Bennett himself.
I sat down with Gary for a few minutes, just chatting about how things have changed since he started repping for Chesbro Music Co. in 1964. Here are some interesting facts I learned about this man’s impressive repertoire:
- Gary was the very first traveling sales rep for our company. He’s also the last rep based out of our home office in Idaho.
- Ray Johnson, manager at the time, hired Gary on the spot in early 1964. The two were chatting when Gary stopped in to buy a set of ukulele strings.
- At one time, Gary covered 13 states and traveled three weeks a month to visit each store on his various routes.
- Gary has attended at least 80 NAMM shows during his tenure with Chesbro Music Co.
- Having an associates degree in music and playing in a dance band called ‘The Collegiates’ while attending Ricks College (now BYU-Idaho) gave him a solid foundation in musical knowledge. Gary still plays the ukulele!
- Traveling to Japan and Korea three times were part of his responsibilities as national sales manager. Gary has held many positions, including sales and marketing manager and even Vice President of the company for awhile in the 80s.
- Gary’s official start date was February 2, 1964. He left for about 3 years in October, 1989, to manage a music store in SLC, UT. When visiting friends and coworkers back in Idaho, Joan Chesbro personally pulled Gary aside and asked him to come back. He began working for Chesbro again in 1992 and has been going strong ever since!
There’s nothing I enjoy more than a good story and if you’ve got the time, Gary’s got some whoppers. We’re incredibly lucky to have him on our team–his knowledge and expertise are unparalleled. I suppose that’s what 51 years in an industry brings.
Until next time,
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