August 31, 2022
If entrepreneurs are known for marching to a different beat, then Jeff Peterson is an improvisational maestro. DT fans may remember Jason’s conversation with the CEO of Geneva Supply on episode 21, in which the two discussed growing and expanding that company’s footprint. And did he ever! But just as that business started to get predictable, Jeff stumbled upon his next entrepreneurial challenge: Interstate Music. Jason chats with Jeff about utilizing his distribution know-how to revitalize a 75-year-old music retailer.
As a rule, business owners don’t usually receive intriguing propositions from failing companies in unrelated verticals, even those who’ve won business person of the year awards. Jeff Peterson doesn’t follow the rules. So when Interstate Music Supply came calling, he answered.
The opportunity to turn around a lagging business proved irresistible. Jeff went all in––even though the company languished in bankruptcy and the world paused for a pandemic. He applied his extensive e-com knowledge and a lifelong affinity for live music to a new entrepreneurial challenge and has never once regretted taking on that challenge.
While the purchase agreement included Interstate Music Supply’s catalog of intellectual property, Jeff astutely excluded the company’s physical inventory and brick-and-mortar footprint. The revamp opened Interstate up to new avenues for attracting customers and building brand loyalty.
“There's big competitors out there that have been doing e-commerce music for a long time and doing it really well,” he says. “However, they're not selling to Amazon, they're not helping a manufacturer sell on a different platform in a different way. So that’s our niche to them.” This value-add strategy includes an agile website, extended relationships with some of the industry’s finest talent, and an intimate events venue.
As for Geneva Supply, the Wisconsin-based company that provides custom e-com solutions for distributors interested in strengthening their presence in the digital marketplace, Jeff’s thrilled to ease up a bit on the controls and trumpet the success of his staff. Enthusiasm for and acknowledgment of team achievements is what separates owners with healthy egos from those motivated by sheer narcissism. “The end goal is if they don't need me for everything but [instead] want me there, I'm okay with that strategy.”
“Someday, my hope is that every musician knows Interstate Music exists and that we're musicians-first as far as their music, not their needs as far as gear––not as a sale, but as a person and an artist first.”
“We're just doing it different, and I think that's always been the way I've tried to do things.”
“I'm not saying Geneva Supply’s business is easy. I'm already used to the problems and the challenges and the rollercoaster of that. If you ride the same roller coaster 10 times in the same day, it's not scary.”
“My dad always said, hire people that someday could take your job from you because if you don't do that, you're never gonna push yourself to be better or think differently.”
Distribution Talk is produced by The Distribution Team, a consulting services firm dedicated to helping wholesale distribution clients remove barriers to profitability, generate wealth and achieve personal goals.
This episode was edited & mixed by The Creative Impostor Studios.
Special thanks to our sponsor for this episode: INxSQL Distribution Software, integrated distribution ERP software designed for the wholesale and distribution industry.