With business advice and assistance from the Iowa Small Business Development Center at Western Iowa Tech Community College in developing their business plan and financial projections, plus providing market research and strategy development, Ron and Gia Emory were able to open their non-profit music conservatory.
Music lives and speaks at the Sioux City Conservatory of Music thanks to Ron and Gia Emory. Both of them love music and want to pass on that love and passion to others by teaching others about music and how to play it. Ron has 35 years of experience playing music; Gia is a designer and the Conservatory’s business manager. Together they are providing a wonderful place for musicians of all ages, backgrounds, and skill levels to practice and perform.
Ron is a native of California, where he used to surf every day while making a living as a carpenter, a nutrition seller, and a home recovery technician. In addition, he played music gigs all over the country with his punk band, which is how he met Gia in Sioux City, Iowa. After they married and had children, they decided to move back to Sioux City to be closer to Gia’s family. Shortly after moving back the Emorys decided they wanted to give back to the community by teaching music, upgrading the music activities and performances in the area, and trading and repairing musical instruments. They started doing all of this out of their home but quickly ran out of room and started looking for a separate location. Gia and Ron found a unique building at 1309 Pierce Street that would be perfect for a Conservatory and realized they needed help making their idea a reality.
In May 2011 Gia went to the Iowa Small Business Development Center at Western Iowa Tech Community College (SBDC) for help with their business concept. SBDC Regional Director Dan Wubbena reviewed the sales and cost estimate information provided by Gia and suggested ways she could obtain additional information that would be needed to draft financial projections. He also discussed the overall business concept and helped her plan a strategy for finishing the project. He told Gia other information that she would need to gather and that he would have some market research completed before their next counseling session. He would then help her develop a business plan and financial projections in order to obtain financing.
A few weeks later Gia returned to the SBDC with the necessary information. Dan made revisions to her financial projections, input information on industry ratio comparisons, reviewed the business plan with Gia and printed a final copy of the projections to be included in the Emory’s financing application. The Emorys were approved for a commercial bank loan and started their business July 1, 2011. Gia went back to the SBDC a few weeks later to work out some final details about their business and to explore the opportunities and risks associated with the business venture. Dan identified the information Gia would need and the methodologies she should use to estimate sales, variable costs, and fixed costs. He also helped Gia put some final touches on her strategy for opening the Sioux City Conservatory of Music.
In November 2011 the Emorys held a grand opening concert at the Orpheum Theatre to introduce their business to the Sioux City community. Many of their students performed and the evening closed with a performance by a special guest band, Sublime. Over 1700 people attended the concert/grand opening.
In August 2012 Gia went back to the SBDC one last time for additional help with their marketing and to report that since their grand opening they had acquired $120,000 in sales and had added two more jobs to the original six they had started with.
When asked about the help they received from the SBDC, Ron Emory stated, “Without the assistance of the SBDC, our dream would not have happened.”
Today, the Sioux City Conservatory of Music is doing extremely well. Eager pupils, from children to adult, continue to take lessons and perform at the Conservatory. The Conservatory has over 200 clients currently, with 150-160 of those being students. Their average sales in one month are from $10,000 to $12,000 and they have added two more jobs for a total of ten positions. This non-profit Conservatory is guided by a Board of Directors who is committed to its success.
The mission of the Sioux City Conservatory of Music is to facilitate music education. Their primary focus is on the youth of their community; however, all are welcomed and encouraged to participate. The conservatory offers private music lessons at a reasonable cost. The Emorys feel that the study of music enriches the life of the student as well as the surrounding community and its society and have launched the Harmony Project, which is ten different music clubs within the Conservatory. It is their outreach to the community and it costs only $5.00 for people to participate weekly. Ron says that once they’ve paid off their bank loan they want to also add a recording studio and possibly more.
For more information on The Sioux City Conservatory of Music, be sure to visit www.siouxcityconservatory.com or check out their Facebook and YouTube pages. It is a unique experience.