Kent – Woodsy’s is a world of music for a world of musicians. Self-described as northeast Ohio’s largest independent, family-owned-and-operated music store, the business has been a fixture of downtown Kent for 41 years. Now, with its online sales, it’s a global phenomenon.
Woodsys_Collage-1President and owner Paul Braden says Woodsy’s is the kind of music store musicians love to find: great selection, prices to match the supermarkets, and real, experienced people to talk to. With two locations in Kent and Medina, Woodsy’s has a seemingly inexhaustible inventory, and specialized, personal service that people used to expect when they went somewhere to spend their money. “Yep, we’re a little bit old-school, and we think you’ll like us that way,” he says.
Back in 1972, Braden was a new Kent State University graduate with a degree in business administration. Having put himself through college playing guitar in various bands, he put his education and his passion for music to work. Braden and a business partner opened The Music Box instrument repair shop in a tiny nine-by-thirty-foot storefront two doors down from Woodsy’s current location. “We started with two work benches and $100 rent, on a wing and a prayer,” he recalls.
Thanks to Braden’s solid business plan and loyal customers, The Music Box soon outgrew its original building and the business relocated to Franklin Avenue for seven years. By 1988, it was time to expand once again. When the Butcher Boy at 135 South Water Street retired, Braden moved the business here, incorporated and renamed it Woodsy’s, to evoke the woody quality of Braden’s beloved stringed instruments. (Despite the shop’s undeniable hippie vibe, Braden says the Woodsy name has no connection to Woodstock.)
As years passed, Woodsy’s continued to grow, expanding into the adjacent storefront (dedicated to keyboards and sound equipment) and to an additional retail location in Medina. Along with its dizzying array of musical instruments and related gear in its retail show rooms, Woodsy’s also offers a band/orchestra division for school programs (including instrument rentals), a touring/DJ/lighting division, audio/video systems installation, and private music lessons. Woodsy’s has 20 full-time employees and “lots of part-time staff,” including 25 music instructors.
Woodsy’s stays true to its founding practices, servicing and repairing what they sell. As stated on the website, “In this age of the “sell-it-and-forget-it” music super markets, we are very proud to still offer you first class repair service.”  Woodsy’s repair technicians are members of NAPBIRT (National Association of Professional Band Instrument Repair Technicians), providing skilled expertise in band and orchestra instrument repairs. Their guitar and electronic techs are equally qualified and experienced. They can also provide professional appraisals of vintage guitars and other instruments.
The Kent store is open 10am-8pm Mondays through Thursdays, and 10am-6pm on Fridays and Saturdays. The Medina store — located at 110 West Liberty Street — is open 10am-7pm Mondays through Thursdays, 10am-6pm on Fridays, and 10am-4pm on Saturdays.
“We’re always striving to have the most current, quality technology and training,” Braden says. “ You’ll find the best selection of products here. If we could, we’d add another floor or wing to our retail space. As it is, our website reflects only half of what we have.”
So, if you can’t find what you’re looking for at Woodsy’s or at, just ask! You can call 1-800-468-1525 for the Kent headquarters or 1-866-545-8575 for the Medina store. Even better, just go “old school” and walk in from off the street. You’ll find a world of musical wonder inside, staffed with knowledgeable and qualified staff who enjoy assisting you.