Just as with any business, there is a history. Where it all started, how it started and how it became who they are today. Long before the first "Welcome to Cooper Music" ever chimed the ears of a piano buyer, the history of the Cooper Family began. For the next few months, I will share with you, every Friday a special blog, containing the history of the Cooper family and creation of Cooper Music. We hope that you enjoy reading as Cooper Music is brought to life with memories.
JOHN COOPER HAD COOPER MUSIC DANCING TO A NEW TUNE
Younger brother, John Cooper stepped up with marketing concepts better suited to the decade. Teaching, repair service, rentals and new product lines became the rule. He started free trial lessons, beginner rent piano programs, free concerts, Melody Way 40-cent group-piano lessons and amateur performance contests. New products, small radios, low priced record players and art supplies and, amazingly, kitchen appliances, were introduced. Uniquely, new products were introduced with special emphasis on teaching and or promotion. Of course, the music school played a key role, but also cooking schools, art lessons promoted the sales by younger brother Charles “Bus” Cooper, of the new products. The changes, over the years, some good some not, must have seemed to take forever. Finances were razor thin. A bitter, low point memory was of a normally busy 1933 Saturday. The day’s total company receipts from sales and installment payments were only 13 dollars.
By 1933 millions of Americans were out of work. Bread lines were a common sight in New Kensington. Hundreds of thousands roamed the nation in search of food, work and shelter. “Brother, can you spare a dime?" went the refrain of a popular song of the time. Coopers were not thinking of bankruptcy though they probably were insolvent. The day-to-day struggle to survive left no time to consider the alternatives, with no place elsewhere to go for John and Isabella Cooper’s family who then had six children to rear and educate. History has recorded in detail the struggles of the nation during this period.
The fact that Cooper Music survived is tribute to the Allegheny-Kiski Valley that refused to give up the love of music and art. Slow and gradual progress gave renewed confidence to Cooper Music. An example was DeSimone, a city street department worker, who purchased a piano for his four talented sons, Joe, Arthur, Albert and Floyd. The piano payments amounted to almost a year of his earnings. The DeSimone family not only prospered but later were leaders in area office supplies business, theatrical productions, music concerts and performances. They too were always giving back to the area.