Jason's Music Center honored for surviving despite...

BUSINESS NOTES

November 13, 2000

Jason's Music Center honored for surviving despite adversity

When Steven L. Cohen of Jason's Music Center was facing a 65 percent business loss, he decided the best way to stay in business was to lend the business away.

The plan has paid off. The 63-year-old music store on Ritchie Highway was honored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and MassMutual last month with the Blue Chip Enterprise Award for public service that has generated community good will and lots of business.

The award, given annually to small businesses that have overcome challenges and emerged stronger, was one of three handed out in Maryland.

Jason's had been one of the oldest Yamaha dealers in the country, Cohen said, when the music store was dropped as a dealer in 1998, effectively cutting 65 percent of its business.

"We were in shock," Cohen said. "It was a survival issue. I very seriously considered liquidating the company and going out of business."

But Cohen decided instead to expand on an old practice in the music industry - lending instruments to public institutions in exchange for publicity.

Cohen started with the Anne Arundel County Public Schools. He then expanded to area private schools, Johns Hopkins' oncology center and Harbor Hospital.

The music store gives out new pianos each year, then sells the used ones at a discount and with a 15-year warranty.

In two years, Cohen said, he's lent out about $500,000 worth of instruments, and the business generated by the program has nearly replaced the loss of Yamaha, he said.

Web site shows drawings of Acton's Landing houses

Madison Homes has launched a Web site showing drawings and maps of the Acton's Landing community it plans to build in Annapolis.

The site, www.actonslanding.com, shows architectural drawings of the single-family homes, townhouses and condominiums to be developed on the 4 1/2 acre site in downtown Annapolis that is being vacated by Anne Arundel Medical Center.

Groundbreaking is scheduled for early 2002.

Mixer offers first look at Lights on Bay display

The Annapolis and Anne Arundel Chamber of Commerce and Anne Arundel Medical Center are sponsoring a holiday mixer from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday at Sandy Point State Park for a sneak preview of the annual Lights on the Bay display.

It will include a wreath-decorating contest, silent auction, buffet samplings from area restaurants, and music by Zim Zemarel's Orchestra, in addition to the drive-through "Lights" show.

Lights on the Bay is a fund-raiser by the hospital auxiliary. It opens Friday to the public and will run from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. evenings through Jan. 1.

Cost for the mixer for members is $30 in advance, $35 at the gate. Cost for nonmembers is $40. A portion of the proceeds will benefit chamber-sponsored scholarships and Lights on the Bay.

Reservations: 410-268-7676.

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