How I started Ponier Music
I went to college to study music. I didn’t even really want to do that. My parents were making me go to college and I said “You mean I can go to college and study drums?” so off I went. I loved it! It was like summer camp 9 months out of the year. I got to play in all sorts of bands all day long and then take one real class which I usually did not do well in.
My goals were to finish college, move back to Atlanta, teach drum lessons and do gigs at night. After all, my old drum instructor Jeff Wilkinson at Jennings Music was doing just that and he seemed to be doing alright. So I got a job at Sadler Music in downtown Kennesaw started teaching and played with any band that would have me. Things were going well. I had about 25 students, I started a percussion ensemble and I was playing gigs. One of my other hobby’s was to buy used drums from the Atlanta Advertiser (pre internet) fix ’em up and sell ’em for profit. Robyn Sadler, owner of Sadler Music asked me if I would be interested in opening a drum shop within the store in exchange for a percentage of the sales.
My arm had to be twisted. I had no idea about business (and some would argue I still don’t) but in April ’95 I got my business license and started Ponier Percussion within Sadler Music. Things went great for about 6 months. After that Mr. Sadler got greedy and wanted to change all of our agreements. We had a big knock down drag out shout fest that ended with “you’re fired, get your stuff and get out.” I was heartbroken. I didn’t know what to do. My mom talked me into giving it a shot on my own. “What have you got to lose? If it flops you go do something else.” So I got a loan against my pickup truck, cashed in some savings bonds from my folks and in Dec. ’95 I opened Ponier Percussion in the basement of a strip mall on Dallas Highway.
I had three drum sets and some odds and ends and I would sit there most of the day by myself and wonder what that something else I would soon be doing would be. After a couple of weeks a little light bulb went on. “Hey!!! I know about guitars so let’s get a guitar teacher!” Mike O’Brien was the ONLY guy who answered my ad so he got the job. After that we added piano lessons and then everything else because people kept asking for it.
So here I am 18 years later. A local boy done good. Maybe I got a knack for it. I’m so proud of what I have accomplished and I know there are more great things to come.