The business -- now known as Hershberger Music Company -- came into being when a long-time furniture store owner and oil investor, Joe Rothmeyer, took a young teacher, Floyd Hershberger, under his wing and suggested he start a piano and organ company.
"If you do, I'll get the piano company to turn the franchise over to you," Joe said.
What a wonderful act of encouragement that was and what a wonderful lesson it is to all of us in the Golden Plains who are dedicated to economic development. Just two years after coming to McCook to teach vocal music at the high school and college, Floyd launched Hershberger Piano and Organ in a small space in the 100 block of West B Street. From that start in 1956, the Hershberger music business continued to grow, inspiring moves to larger spaces at 211 West C Street in the early 1960s and to 202 West First Street in the mid-1970s.
Today, more than 57 years after the business began, Hershberger Music Company operates from the 5,000 square foot building at the corner of West First and B streets in McCook. From there, it serves thousands of music lovers, hundreds of students and more than 40 school bands in an area stretching from Lexington, Nebraska on the north to Tribune, Kansas on the south.
"Thanks to Dad's vision and the support of an extraordinary number of people throughout the area, Hershberger Music Company has the largest selection of musical products and accessories in the region," said Brad Hershberger, who succeeded his father as director of business operations for the multi-faceted musical company.
Floyd, known as "McCook's Music Man," passed away in 2011. During more than half a century as a McCook civic leader, Floyd spearheaded a number of community and cultural activities, including the McCook Community Foundation Fund, the McCook Concert Association and the purchase and renovation of the historic Fox Theatre. At his side was his wife, Joyce, also a music graduate, who gave piano lessons throughout most of her years in McCook. Joyce continues as owner of the Hershberger company, with her and Floyd's son, Brad, serving as president of business operations.
All along, the Hershberger music business has kept growing, expanding from pianos and organs to every kind of musical instrument and all types of accessories. Now, as in the beginning, the standard of excellence is what sets the business apart. "We have been dedicated throughout our years in business to providing very good quality instruments at a fair price," Brad said. "We have never wavered and it has served our customers very well. Quality lasts. And, over the course of time, it pays."
As an endorsement of Hershberger's commitment, Director Don Mordecai of the Eisenhower Elementary and Norton Junior High Band said, "I appreciate how you are dedicated to providing quality instruments to many area schools ... You have decided to continue with excellence in quality instruments just as your father did. Thanks for doing all that you do."
A visit to the spacious Hershberger store at 202 West First shows the vastness and variety of the store's inventory. Upon opening the entrance doors, customers can see displays of acoustic pianos, digital pianos, portable keyboards, band instruments, acoustic guitars, electrical guitars, violas, violins, banjos, mandolins, ukuleles, drums, drum sets, music books, music sets and accessories for everything they sell, including such things as guitar strings and saxophone reeds.
In other words, if it has to do with music, Hershberger's is the place to go. "We're the center for musical products, accessories and repairs. Bring your musical needs to us, and we will see that they are taken care of," Brad said.
While Brad is on the road much of the time to meet personally with band directors, parents and students, in-store duties are handled by Nathaniel Frank, an accomplished musician who is well-versed in all phases of the musical business. "We are very fortunate to have Nathaniel on staff," Brad said. "He not only does all the ordering and inventory management for the store, but he also is very knowledgeable about musical instruments, which is a great aid to those seeking advice on products and purchases."
As the years have gone by, musical product preferences have changed. In this day and age, the two most popular and preferred brands are Yamaha for pianos, keyboards and band instruments and Teton for acoustic guitars. "They're both exceptional companies with outstanding products," Brad said. "We're proud to represent them in this area."
Because of Hershberger Music Company's convenient location, the store has become ticket central for a large number of concerts, cultural events and theatrical presentations. Hershberger's is also the place to go to find out about musical instruction, with Nathaniel Frank among those providing lessons.
It will be a special occasion. And it should be. The Hershberger music store has been a part of the Golden Plains region since 1956 and now, as then, the Hershbergers and their staff are dedicated to serving the complete musical needs of the region's residents.
More information is available at www.hershbergermusic.com