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Our History

The Woodwind & Brasswind History

The Woodwind & Brasswind has been serving musicians at all levels for more than 30 years. Our journey began in South Bend, Indiana working out of a converted barbershop with a hand-typed flyer as a catalog. Since then The Woodwind & Brasswind has grown into the premiere catalog and Internet retailer serving musicians from flutists to tuba players, and violinists to percussion artists.

The Woodwind (1978-1982)

In 1978 The Woodwind was founded on opportunity - taking the centuries-old concept of mail-order and applying it to musical instrument accessories. This made items typically found only in larger metropolitan areas available to every corner of America. The original four-page, hand-typed flyer was sent to just 350 music teachers in the Midwest.

The Woodwind & The Brasswind (1980s-1990s)

Encouraged by the success of its early endeavor, and at the request of many brass players, The Woodwind expanded into brass products and became known as The Woodwind & The Brasswind. By the late 1980s, expansion into guitars, drums, and audio equipment meant serving musicians with any need. As a result of the company's early growth, the 800 square-foot former barbershop became cramped and could no longer meet the needs of the growing business. A new location was found with a dedicated room for the call center, a retail floor, and a warehouse. The original four-page flyer blossomed into multiple catalogs, one for each major division, and a master catalog listing all products.

The 1990s brought even more success. The mail-order business experienced exponential growth, expanding from 12 to 75 call center agents by the end of the decade. The first website was also launched during this period. However, unlike many retailers, the catalog continued to be the instrument of its success.

The Woodwind & Brasswind (1999-2011)

With the rapid growth of the previous decade, The Woodwind & The Brasswind outgrew its second location. On April 1, 1999, employees packed up the store and moved it to 4004 Technology Drive in South Bend, Indiana. The location featured a large call center, office space, and the region's largest music superstore. The current tilted treble clef logo also made its debut, and The Woodwind & The Brasswind simplified its name to The Woodwind & Brasswind.

The Woodwind & Brasswind grew to more than 110 employees committed to assisting musicians from all backgrounds. Partnering with DonorsChoose.org, The Woodwind & Brasswind is committed to restoring music education in public schools across the United States. Since 2007 donations of nearly $1.5 million have provided musical equipment to programs in need.

In addition to supporting musicians during their first steps, The Woodwind & Brasswind is also an official tour-level sponsor of Drum Corps International (DCI). Known as "Marching Music's Major League", DCI is a touring competition with more than 100 events across North America.

The Woodwind & Brasswind Present Day

The "brick and mortar" location in South Bend closed in 2011, but with a reinvigorated commitment to its online and catalog division. It currently serves all 50 states and more than 90 countries worldwide. The catalog is mailed monthly to more than 100,000 schools, businesses and households, and the website is accessible anywhere there is an Ethernet connection. The call center has expanded moved to Indianapolis and the warehousing component moved to Kansas City, Missouri.

There have been big changes for The Woodwind and Brasswind in its fourth decade. What hasn't changed though, is the staff's deep product knowledge, and unflagging dedication to school music programs and to servicing the needs of professional and amateur musicians across the country and across the world.

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