The Time for New Ideas

Posted by: Economic Development Team on Tuesday, May 12, 2020

All around Charles County, small businesses have had to shake up their regular business practices in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. And while times are tough, some businesses have risen to the challenge. We recently spoke on the phone with Keith Grasso, co-owner and co-manager of Island Music Company in La Plata to talk about the adjustments his business has made. Quick to adapt, the Island Music Company co-owner shared that “there’s plenty of time to think of new ideas.”


One of the biggest changes has been to their lesson program. Instead of shutting their doors, Keith and his staff made the decision to begin doing nearly 400 lessons a week remotely through FaceTime, Skype or Zoom. Grasso said, “it’s really been a good thing for us. We’ve retained most of our student base and have actually added quite a few more students because folks have more time on their hands.”


Grasso stated that preparation was key, “we had a pretty good email marketing program set up as this was coming, so we were gearing up.” While they hadn’t anticipated this new service would be as popular as it has become, Island Music Company is pleasantly surprised with the number of inquiries they’re receiving, rounding out to about half a dozen each day.


While they’re still conducting online sales and getting orders out the door, lessons continue to be the most popular service. Through this adaptation, Grasso and his team of instructors have been able to teach a wide range of musical instruments and talent levels. “It’s neat to have new people turning to music, especially during this time,” Grasso said enthusiastically.


“I think this has been such a success that we’ll probably leave this as part of our portfolio in terms of lessons. It gives people more flexibility in terms of when they can learn, and we might even move to an on-demand platform too.”


While this hasn’t been an easy time for small businesses, Grasso is appreciative of the community support his business has received. “The one thing I can say about all this is that it makes you realize how many supporters you do have in the community and how many fans of Island Music Company there are out there. We’ve sold a lot of gift cards to people that aren’t really even into music, but they’re giving them as gifts or buying them to support the store.”


Now is the time to brainstorm new ideas and test what works. Talking from experience, Grasso chuckled and said “not all of them will work, but we’re always trying something new and trying to be better. Hopefully, we’ll come out of this with all sorts of ideas and things we can do as a community to grow music and performing arts in our area.”


To learn more about the Island Music Company and their services, visit

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