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Daughter follows father's rhythm and gets business education in the process

By By Lynette Wilson / staff writer
October 20, 2002
When Aislinn Webb took over her father's music store, she didn't know a lick about running a business.
Art Matthews opened The Music Emporium at 3100 23rd Ave. on Dec. 12, 1973. To some Meridian residents, the store is a landmark and serves as a place to share ideas about music, politics and life.
Matthews gave the store to his 27-year-old daughter in July 2001. And since then, she's read dozens of books on running a small business, marketing and how to use a computer to its full potential.
About a year later, she said, she's finally at a place where she's comfortable with the business-side of running the store.
Webb said sales started to decline when her dad left the store and that she's experimented with selling everything from clothing and jewelry to incense, concert tickets and other items.
But through it all, the store's main focus remains compact discs pop, rock, blues, soul, country and other genres.
Long-time customer Rusty Frye said the reason people shop at The Music Emporium is because of the people who run it.
Like her dad, Webb said she prefers to specialize in hard-to-find bands and obscure, eccentric bands on the verge of explosion.
There is a customer base that still supports small, independent businesses the kind that accommodate the mainstream public but also cater to individuals with more eclectic tastes.
Gordon Bland said it took him a while to find The Music Emporium, but once he did, he became a regular.
Webb's childhood memories are filled with images of her and her brother goofing off at her dad's music store. When her dad set a date to close the store, she was upset.
She said her dad took a radio job and didn't have time for the store.
Matthews said turning the store over to someone he loved who could move it forward meant a lot to him.