Bill Coates turns his love of jazz into a thriving...

SUNDAY SNAPSHOTS

September 15, 1991|By Mary Corey

Bill Coates turns his love of jazz into a thriving business

In search of a 1960 recording of Miles Davis live in Stockholm? Or Ethel Ennis singing "When I Fall in Love"?

Bill Coates is the man to call.

As the owner of the Jazz House in Govans, he makes it his business to put jazz lovers together with their favorite and often hard-to-find recordings.

"Some people like shopping for clothes. I like shopping for records," explains Mr. Coates, 39, who lives just five doors from the store. "If I can do it and make a profit, that's even better."

Five years ago, he decided to see if there was profit in his lifelong passion. He converted a basement into a no-frills shop, using albums from his personal collection to stock the shelves and calling a back room his home.

He now sends his monthly flier to 600 customers and expects sales to reach six figures this year. Mr. Coates knew he'd really arrived, however, when Billboard magazine began tracking his top sellers for its jazz list.

But as he considers expanding into other locations, one thing still brings the most professional pleasure.

"Seeing the satisfaction on people's faces," he says, "when I find TC in two days something they haven't been able to in two years."

Gloria Brennan has made a career out of helping others look beautiful, but many times she has felt less than beautiful herself.

In fact, she's felt abandoned and afraid.

As a child, her parents shuffled her around the country to be raised by relatives. As a young adult, her two brothers were killed. And finally when life seemed to be falling into place, with her two full-service salons thriving, she and her husband divorced. After five years of litigation, he got the Towson salon, About Faces, she says.

While such experiences would have left other women embittered, they've turned the 47-year-old Owings Mills resident into a survivor committed to helping people through her Pikesville shop -- Gloria Brennan the Salon.

For 15 years, she and her staff have closed the store one day a year to treat handicapped women to makeovers. Since December, she's kept a shopping cart in the salon, collecting more than 700 pounds of canned goods for the Maryland Food Bank. And she's organizing the November Bid to Breathe Auction for the American Lung Association of Maryland.

"Part of me has a real need to reach out to people," she says. "And making a contribution feels much better than just saying, 'Now how much can I make and take to the bank?' "

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