From left, Bill and Suzy McDaniel, longtime friends of Willis Music; Willis Music's Paul Finke, vice president of retail operations; Kevin Cranley, president; and Colleen Merman, education coordinator.


Willis Music Celebrates
120 Years

One of Cincinnati's oldest retailers, Willis Music, turned 120 years old April 1. The company has remained a family-owned and-operated music retailer and the area's music resource since 1899.

To celebrate the milestone anniversary, all five Willis Music locations held a celebration with food, drinks and live music April 6. The company's Florence, Kentucky, store hosted a giveaway offering more than $18,000 in prizes that were donated by some of the company's top vendors, including Yamaha, Fender, Alvarez, Ibanez, Kala, D'Addario, Shure, Galaxy Audio, Pearl, Mapex, Toca, Buffet Crampon, Chauvet, Cordoba, Roland, Hal Leonard, Lanikai, Willow Creek and Latin Percussion.

Dozens of patrons walked away with items like guitars, drum sets, ukuleles, lighting equipment and even a Yamaha Clavinova. Before the drawing, Florence city councilman and Willis Music customer Gary Winn joined the festivities by presenting the retailer with a proclamation from the city, congratulating the company on 120 years.

On April 7, all Willis Music locations closed early to continue the celebration with the entire Willis family. Everyone in attendance enjoyed a meal catered by Buona Vita, drinks and live music by longtime customer Mike Duncan. To celebrate their music family, company executives presented awards to their employees, recognizing their successes in 2018.

"I had such a wonderful time with our team, their families and friends, and I just feel so fortunate to work with such a wonderful group of dedicated people," said Kevin Cranley, president of Willis Music.