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The Orion

Herreid Music owner talks music background, sales

Rich Pires has been involved with music ever since he was in high school. After graduation, he came to Chico State to major in music and loved the town so much, he stayed. He lived in Chico for 18 years, but has resided in Redding for the last 20.

Pires first got into the music business in 1974 by teaching, working at a store and doing repairs.

“I wasn’t even planning on working when I came up to Chico, but there was a guy at the college that I talked to and told him I was a repairman,” Pires said. “He said, ‘Oh, you have to come here and check this out,’ and then he showed me everything.”

He offered Pires a job on the spot.

Herreid Music store is located in downtown Chico. Photo credit: Grant Casey

Pires kept working hard at various stores until he bought his own store, Rich Sounding Music, in 1986. In 1992, he purchased Herreid Music in Redding and branched out to Chico in 1997.

“It’s a little different community,” Pires said. “Its college-oriented down here in Chico. In Redding, it’s kind of more of a general thing. We do get people from Bethel Church up in Redding, which brings in people from all over the world. We get people from all over Europe but it’s different. Redding is smaller and more packed while the Chico store is more open.”

Herreid Music offers a wide selection of instruments that are displayed in a creative manner. Photo credit: Grant Casey

A typical day for Pires at the Chico store consists of ordering, making sure all customers are helped and doing book work. Ever since the economy dropped and bigger stores like Guitar Center have come into town, sales have gone down.

When Pires is not chipping away at sales in his stores, you can find him racing. He has a car that has been in races at the Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico as well as other places.

He even bought his own car, took it apart and rebuilt it completely.

“It is a fun experience. It is so much different than music,” Pires said. “It’s nice to get out there on the racetrack and the pits. You’re out there getting dirty and having fun.”

What isn’t fun, however, is theft.

“We caught a guy one time in the acoustic room that took one of our smaller guitars,” Pires said. “He actually took the neck of the guitar and put it down the leg of his pants. The other part of the guitar was hidden underneath his coat as he walked out. But somebody noticed it and we tried to chase him down. We were not quick enough to catch him but there was an AT&T guy outside working who saw him and pulled over, actually got the guitar from the guy and brought it back.”

Herreid Music owner Rich Pires picks up the guitar to play a few chords and discuss his music background. Photo credit: Grant Casey

What makes Herreid Music stand out is that the workers know and understand the customers on a personal level.

“I think the most gratifying part of the job is that I have customers now that are in their thirties that actually started out playing guitar with us years ago. They have taken the classes and started out playing here. Just to see them grow and keep with the music over the years is really cool.”

Tom Sundgren can be reached at [email protected] or @tomsundgren on Twitter.

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