HUBBARD, Ohio – Hubbard Music is a family-owned business, and its customers are friends.
“It’s a family environment,” says owner Rob McFarland, who bought the stores in 2020 from the original owner. “It was family owned then. It’s family owned now. I became like part of his family.”
The family of the former owner, Mark Tirabassi, used to work at the store.
“Now my kids come here. They’re young. They take lessons. They know all the sales guys,” McFarland says.
The store develops good relationships with its customers.
“It might sound cliché but our customers become our friends,” he says.
The store, with locations at 51 N. Main St. in Hubbard, and at Eastwood Mall in Niles, specializes in musical instrument sales.
“Everything from rock ’n’ roll guitar, drum, bass, keyboard,” McFarland says.
The store also sells and rents instruments for school children, including clarinets, flutes, trombones. And it sells accessories, speakers, microphones, and audio systems and teaches music lessons.
While customers range from teens who want to start a band, to moms looking to buy band instruments for their children, to musicians with years of experience, most are regulars.
“If you start to play the guitar and really like the guitar, you’re going to own a lot of guitars,” McFarland says.
Acoustic guitars come in different sizes and are made out of various types of wood. “There are different tones they all make,” he says. “They all make different sounds. But just like with shoes, it could come down to, they think that blue one looks cool.”
McFarland didn’t follow a traditional path to owning a music store. After college, he was working in social work but didn’t like it. He quit with no plan except to find something that he enjoyed.
He got hired at Hubbard Music and told the previous owner he expected to stay a month or two. He never left. When Tirabassi decided to retire, McFarland bought the business.
He hopes that when he’s ready to retire, one of his three children will take over the business.
“But I want them to do whatever they want to do,” McFarland says.
Pictured at top: Rob McFarland, owner of Hubbard Music, bought the business in 2020. It has stores in on North Main Street in Hubbard and at the Eastwood Mall in Niles.