Schmitt Music Company History
Helping people make music for over a century!
We're celebrating our 125th ANNIVERSARY in 2021! Get to know us with this brief overview of our first 125 years in the music business. View an expanded timeline!
The history of Schmitt Music began over 125 years ago, when in 1890, the Century Piano Company of Minneapolis brought Paul A. Schmitt from New York to manage its sheet music business. Six years later, in 1896, Paul A. Schmitt resigned from the Century Piano Company to open his own business at 606 Nicollet in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota.
His business underwent several changes in location during the next few years. Between 1925 and 1929 Robert A. Schmitt, Paul's son, joined the company and Paul sold all his assets to the Paul A. Schmitt Company, becoming its first president.
Robert A. Schmitt became president after his father's death in 1935. During the 1930's and 40's the company expanded to include a full line of musical instruments, records, accessories, and related products. In 1945, pianos were added to the inventory, and electronic organs just a year later.
In January of 1958 Robert P. Schmitt, grandson of the founder of the company, became its president allowing his parents Robert A. and Margaret H. Schmitt to retire as active employees in 1972. Under Robert P. Schmitt's energetic leadership, a new program of expansion with multiple store locations began.
In 1985 Robert P. Schmitt's son and great-grandson of the founder, Thomas M. Schmitt, became president of Schmitt Music continuing the leadership of the company into the fourth generation. Family-run operations expanded with another fourth-generation Schmitt: Tom's brother, Doug Schmitt is currently Vice President, Education/Community Relations and Advocacy/Concert and Artist Activities.
With 13 locations, Schmitt Music is now one of the largest and most respected full-service music retailers in America. There are 8 Schmitt Music stores in Minnesota: 5 in the Minneapolis and St. Paul metro area, and others in Duluth, Rochester and Virginia, MN. We also have 5 stores in 5 others states: Fargo, ND; Sioux Falls, SD; Eau Claire, WI; Omaha, NE; and Denver, CO.
Today Schmitt Music specializes in pianos, keyboards, band & orchestra instruments, musical accessories, printed music, repair and other services, and more. Because we strongly believe in the value of music education, we provide space in our stores for dozens of talented teachers who give over 185,000 music lessons each year. In the fall, our programs help over 13,000 students join the school band or orchestra. And, for the convenience of our customers, we offer the services of over 40 technicians who repair and service thousands of instruments.
November 2011 marked Schmitt Music's 50th Anniversary as a Steinway & Sons piano dealer! We're proud to represent Steinway in every market where we do business, and we were honored to receive Steinway's "Dealer of the Year" award for 2011.
Schmitt Music won the awards for "Best Marketing & Sales Promotion" and "Best Support Music Advocacy" at NAMM's Top 100 Dealer Awards on July 12, 2013 at Summer NAMM in Nashville, TN.
The 4th and 5th Generation Schmitts: Ted, Doug, Tom, and Peter
Schmitt Music recently welcomed the fifth generation into the family-run business with two great-great grandsons of the founder Paul A. Schmitt joining the company! Peter Schmitt, son of Tom Schmitt, started in 2014 and soon led the development of the company's Orchestral Strings Division. In 2016, Ted Schmitt, son of VP and Co-owner Doug Schmitt, joined the company. After several roles in the company, Ted now serves as VP, Financing and Analytics.
In 2021, after 36 years as President and CEO of Schmitt Music and 50 years at the company, Tom Schmitt has stepped into a new role as Executive Chariman, with his son Peter Schmitt taking the helm as incoming CEO.
"While the company's leadership is changing, our values and focus will remain the same," said Peter Schmitt in a letter to employees. "At its core, Schmitt Music is about more than simply selling instruments and lessons. It is about making connections—with each other and with our customers. It is about our people, the programs we offer, and how we participate in the communities we serve. I am humbled by the chance to carry forward the time-honored, customer-focused practices that have made Schmitt Music an industry leader for over a century.”
Peter Schmitt and Tom Schmitt outside the former Schmitt Music headquarters in Minneapolis
Schmitt Music aims to become our customers' preferred resource for everything they need as they pursue their musical dreams. Our passion and mission have remained the same for 125 years – Enriching lives by helping people make music! Visit your Schmitt Music store today! Click here to view our locations.