Hubbard Music is giving the gift of music to residents of the Mahoning Valley. What began as a childhood hobby has evolved into a decades long commitment to bringing quality musical instruments and education. We interviewed Mark Tirabassi, Owner of Hubbard Music, about how his love for music lead to his successful Valley business.

What is Hubbard Music?

Hubbard Music is my dream come true. It’s a business that I started out of my parents basement, and it’s a retail store, twenty seven years later, that sells guitars and drums and flutes and pianos and we give lessons and we also do repairs. It’s the everything store for musicians.

How did you get into music?

I idolized my older cousin Randy and he told me girls like drummers. So I foolishly decided to jump into music that way. It’s not a smart idea. It’s just what happened.

How did you transition from Randy’s advice and simply liking music to owning a music store?

I was giving lessons out of my parents basement and I realized that some of my students had progressed and needed a drum set. So I would go out with the family and help them find a drum set. Pretty soon I was buying some of the deals that we were finding, and then I would sell them to the next student. So that was kind of the nucleus of what sparked the music store idea.

Originally you wanted to be a band director, what changed?

I went to YSU, Dana School of Music, and loved it. I loved music so everybody told me, ‘if you love music you should be a band director.’ I went there and two and a half years later I flunked out, and I didn’t know why because I still loved music. And it turns out, unbeknownst to me, I loved the marketing of music. I didn’t know what the marketing of music was then, but that’s what I loved.

Do you play music professionally?

Yeah, I drum. I’m a professional drummer. I will always be a drummer, in whatever facet, and I have my own little cover band that I’ve had forever, since right out of high school called Graphic Pink. I also am the fill-in drummer for Donnie Iris whenever Kevin (the original drummer) can’t make it. But that’s a fun gig that I get to play and pretend I’m a rock star for a while.

What do you love most about owning Hubbard Music?

What I love most, and I didn’t know this when I started, is that I would get a completely free extended family of friends, customers, and teachers that just become part of my life, excluding the whole business aspect. The surprising thing about my business is when people call me and ask me if I’ll match the online price, or match the big box store’s price, I always tell them the same thing: I’ll raise my price if you want me to. And they’re blown away because they don’t realize that little independent Mark is in it to win it. And I’m very competitive when it comes to price.

What do you take the most pride in in your business?

I take the most pride in that I built this from infancy with twelve hundred dollars to my name and never at any point got greedy. I’m just proud of not being greedy and doing it the right way.

Why is Hubbard Music a great place to shop compared to national competitors?

Price is a key factor. People people need to know they’re getting the best deal, but not everybody pulls the trigger to purchase based on price. It’s product knowledge. It’s the after the sale, the phase two, things break, things get worn out. So you have to be able to be there for the customer in phase two. And I’m really proud that we do that well.

Is it meaningful for you to be able to carry forth the legacy of music?

I have customers that come in the store now that told me they were students when they were children. So it hits home to know that I’ve gone through a couple of generations. Planting the seat of music, giving someone the gift of music, which is an intangible asset, you can’t put a price on it.

Hubbard Music has two locations:

  • 51 N Main St, Hubbard, OH 44425
  • Eastwood Mall, 5555 Youngstown Warren Rd, Niles, OH 44446

While you’re in Hubbard, check out Extending Grace.