Washington, DC – At the State of American Business event hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Elderly Instruments, a Lansing-based retailer of fretted musical instruments, was celebrated as America's Top Small Business 2023. This prestigious accolade not only highlights their commitment to product excellence and innovative business practices but also marks an important milestone in the company’s history as the company is passed to a second generation, into the dynamic leadership of co-owner and CEO Lillian Werbin.
A Legacy of Enthusiasm and Excellence
Founded over 50 years ago, Elderly Instruments has become a distinguished name in the realm of fretted and stringed instruments. Their diverse inventory ranges from acoustic and electric guitars to mandolins, basses, banjos, and ukuleles, supplemented by an array of accessories essential for any musician. More than a retailer, Elderly Instruments is a vibrant community hub for musicians, embodying a legacy of passion for music and excellence in service.
Leading with Heart and Vision
Lillian Werbin's organic love for music has driven her leadership. Following in the footsteps of her father, Stan Werbin, she has been vital in steering Elderly Instruments into its successful second-generation era. Her approach, which uniquely blends business acumen with empathy and understanding, resonates with her employees and the broader community, making Elderly Instruments a model for compassionate and effective leadership in business.
A Team Fueled by Passion and Joy
The success of Elderly Instruments can also be attributed to its dedicated team, who share a deep passion for music and customer service. In the video highlight, employees AJ Glaub and Jim Jones epitomize the joy and fulfillment found in their roles, reflecting a workplace culture that values commitment and enthusiasm.
“Being an employer is a daily balancing act, I employ 43 people who have families and livelihoods that are dependent on good decision-making, good listening skills, and patience. It all speaks to caring about the human aspect more than the business aspect." - Lillian Werbin
Blending Technology with Tradition
Technology plays a crucial role in the success of small businesses, and Elderly Instruments has dedicated significant effort, particularly in the past six years, to ensure that their technology not only supports the business but also keeps the focus on customer satisfaction. The company has consistently utilized third-party services to enhance operational efficiency, hosting its website on a robust platform and engaging with larger companies for international shipping needs. This approach stems from a belief in leveraging expertise where it counts; Elderly Instruments prioritizes their specialization in fretted and stringed instruments while relying on trusted partners to excel in their respective fields. This strategy of collaboration and trust in external expertise is essential for the Elderly's operations and growth.
In the video interview, Michael Erlewine, Director of IT and Marketing, remarked "We're standing on the shoulders of 50 years of this business and it's been an incredible honor to translate that legacy to a more modern system and a more modern presence online. It's allowed us to do what we do best, which is the care and attention we give our customers and making sure everything we do is top-notch."
Celebrating a Story of Resilience and Community Spirit
Elderly Instruments' recognition as America's Top Small Business 2023 serves as a testament to the crucial role small businesses play in the economy and community. Lillian Werbin emphasizes this, noting the commonalities Elderly Instruments shares with small businesses nationwide. This recognition is not just a personal triumph but a reflection of the broader contributions and potential of small businesses in America.
The journey of Elderly Instruments is a compelling narrative of passion, dedication, and adaptability, setting a high standard for small businesses across the country. As they continue to offer a diverse range of high-quality fretted and stringed instruments and accessories, their story remains an inspirational beacon of success, resilience, and unwavering commitment to the music community.