dr marten chelsea boot Spirit of the Entrepreneur

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REMERTON Being an entrepreneur isn’t always easy and everyone does it a little differently. Some open online stores, while others open brick and mortar storefronts.

Some go all in and invest their lives into a new venture, while others start a new business as something to do on the side. Regardless of the type, entrepreneurs help drive the local economy.

Ben Owens, president and CEO of Ben Owens Music, started music when he joined his middle school band in seventh grade. He played the trombone. It wasn’t until Owens was 13 that he learned to play the guitar.

For Owens, learning trombone and guitar wasn’t a hobby, but the beginning of a passion that has turned into a career.

He played in several bands growing up, and eventually attended Valdosta State College and earned a degree in telecommunications.

While he was in school, he worked at Sandy Campbell Music teaching music lessons.

After graduating, Owens moved to Atlanta and worked for Rhythm City, one of the largest music stores in the southeast, he said.

In Atlanta, he had the opportunity to work with Derek St. Holmes, singer and guitarist for Ted Nugent.

“The short time I worked there we got to be friends and he really made a big influence on me as far as wanting to be a musician,” he said. “It’s not everyday you get to be friends with a rock star. Playing music has always been my dream. So, that was a very cool experience for me.”

Owens also had the chance play with Brad Whitford, a guitarist for Aerosmith,
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and open for bands such as Drivin N Cryin and Collective Soul.

Unfortunately, Owens wasn’t able to make a living in Atlanta as a musician and moved back to Valdosta “20 pounds lighter and much wiser,” he said.

He worked at Sandy Campbell for five more years before opening his own store, Encore Music Center, in 1996. It was in 2002 when Owens changed the name of the business to Ben Owens Music.

Ben Owens Music sells new and used instruments, lessons on eight different instruments, consignment, repairs stringed instruments and amps and builds custom guitars amps under the names Effingood amps, Wet Horse guitars and Owens Wood Guitars.

Owens offered two bits of advice for people looking to open a business: do something you are passionate about and be flexible.

Now, Owens can play “guitar, bass, drums, trombone, harmonica, mandolin, second bass and left field,” he said.

“Do what you love because you are trading your life for it,” he said. “All of the pieces of the puzzle will fall together after that.

“For several years,
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the internet took away a lot of business until we embraced it and adjusted to it. Now we use the internet to our advantage. It was a long road. We had to change a lot of our ideals on what it means to run a traditional mom and pop shop. We’ve come a long way in the last 10 years.”

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