LEARNING CURVE | ‘Everything sold backed by Gold and a friendship that lasts forever’ at Lee Gold Music

Loyal customers still remember owner Simeon Goldblum sweeping the floors as a schoolboy

Lee Gold Music Port Elizabeth manager David Kotze
Lee Gold Music Port Elizabeth manager David Kotze
Image: Fredlin Adriaan

Lee Gold Music, a household name in SA, is proud of the legendary service the company is known for among its loyal family of clients.

Established in 1985, it is now a successful, multifaceted business trading all over SA and in neighbouring countries.

Owner Simeon Goldblum, 46, who started working in the business while he was still in school, believes everything they sell is “backed by Gold and a friendship that lasts forever”.

Please share some background on yourself and how the business was started?

The business was started by my parents Leon and Janet Goldblum from home, they were both unemployed at the time.

They started off selling some of my dad’s old instruments and a few items they sourced from suppliers.

Shortly afterwards, they found a small premises in Old Transkei Road, Nahoon, East London, where the original store still trades today.

My father is a professional musician and his stage name was Lee Gold, hence our shop’s name, Lee Gold Music.

They started with R3,000 worth of stock and a second-hand piano, and now we are a successful, multifaceted business trading all over SA and in neighbouring countries.

I have been involved in the business since I was in primary school — my first job was to sweep the store, even today I am the best sweeper.

During my school career, I would frequently be involved in our store. To this day customers remember me working in my school uniform.

What is your core service?

We supply musical instruments and accessories. We also do installations of audio video equipment for restaurants, churches, schools and conferencing.

What makes your business unique?

Our slogan is: “Everything sold backed by Gold and a friendship that lasts forever”.

We are all about forming long-term relationships, excellence in product knowledge and most importantly our legendary service.

If someone wanted to copy your business model, how would they start?

In any business you will need to be passionate about what you do, be innovative, a problem-solver and live your business.

What are some of the biggest inhibitors your business faced before getting off the ground?

Finances.

Do you have any tips for budding entrepreneurs or new business owners?

You will have to sacrifice many personal hours to be successful.

Find people you can trust to work with and empower them.

Reinvest in your business, start off humbly and grow from there.

What are some of your biggest challenges in day-to-day business operations and your particular industry?

Always wanting to be relevant, competing with online stores — that’s not always a fair playing ground.

What is the best advice anyone gave you on success?

My dad always taught us to be fair and ethical in our dealings, to treat everyone respectfully and always do a little extra.

How do you measure or define success in your business?

Based on annual turnover, growth of our footprint, customers posting raving reviews on social media about their experience, when customers’ children and their children’s children are still purchasing from us.

What are some of the best practices that have made your business successful?

Reinvesting in stock portfolio, building relationships and focusing on good service.

What kind of advertising do you do?

Currently we use social media and word-of-mouth referrals.

What is your company’s vision?

To keep on the same positive growth pattern we are, evolving and remaining current, for the next generation to follow in the footprint that have been walked.

What is your target market?

It’s hard to define as it is so broad, but we have seen children from three years old playing and grandparents over 80 still playing instruments.

Industry-wise we would have to say churches, schools, institutes of higher learning, private tutors, event companies, restaurants, gyms, retail, musicians, studio artists, radio stations. Anything musical.

What have some of your highlights been in running your business?

Continually learning and evolving, interaction with people and the product we sell, opening our school, recording studio and venue, and recently opening our Port Elizabeth store in 2018.

How important is social media and an online presence for your business?

Social media was instrumental in building our brand in Port Elizabeth.

How many people do you employ?

Currently we employ 20 people.

Do you have any plans for expanding the business, and how would you go about this?

We are busy working on our next adventure [and we] will keep you posted.

How did you acquire funding for the business?

We started from scratch and any extra we made we reinvested in the store, not easy to get funding when you are starting.

Banks promise to assist but they don’t.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learnt from your business journey so far?

Nothing is easy, we are continually challenged, and must always make a plan. Why? Because we can.

I have also learnt that people matter, people prefer to deal with people.

Service is important, honesty and reputation are priceless and important to uphold, as well as building long-term relationships, thus expanding our family.

If these fundamentals are met, everything tends to fall into place.

What have been the greatest challenges and advantages of running your business in a city like PE?

We have attentively been looking after our PE customers for more than 25 years,  previous to opening our PE branch.

We are well-known for our annual expos that customers still talk about.

I am happy with how our business has grown in the last four years.

Obviously we are still new in PE and people are still finding out about us.

Positively, we consistently see new faces who soon become part of our family and so on.

What do you believe are the three key traits of a successful entrepreneur?

Passion for what you do and the product you sell, hardworking, innovative and being able to think out of the box.

What do you feel are the key traits of a successful employer?

Being fair, creating structure and empowering.

What do you wish people knew about your industry?

People are surprised by the vast scope of services and goods we offer.

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