Connolly Music Company at 40 Years
Founded in 1970 by John Connolly, Jr. (originally as “Connolly & Co., Inc.”),
Connolly Music Company is now celebrating its 40th Anniversary. Best known for
distributing such brands as Thomastik-Infeld and König & Meyer, the company
remains a family owned enterprise, with John’s son Jake now at the helm.
MMR recently sat down with Jake Connolly to discuss the business’ history,
the changing climate of MI, and some current and upcoming developments
at Connolly Music Company.
MMR: Talk a little bit about the Thomastik-Infeld division that she hoped JC: A common occurrence in the Con-
evolution of the company. Your that wasn’t the only line he was taking on nolly household was for the kids to sit in
father had worked at WM. R. Gratz because, in her words, “You could never front of the TV and package strings into
prior to going out on his own, make a living just distributing strings.” envelopes. Although free labor was re-
correct? Connolly & Co. has always sold sev- quired, my father didn’t impress upon his
eral other instruments, accessories, children the need for a successor. Tak-
Jake Connolly: WM. R. Gratz was the and fittings, however Thomastik-Infeld ing a free-to-be-you-and-me approach
exclusive distributor of products such as has always remained the cornerstone. throughout our growing years, it was a
Hofner, Paesold, Bohm & Meinl, Kohlert, The tremendous success the companies bit of a surprise when dad suddenly an-
Thomastik-Infeld and others. My father, shared together as the Dominant string nounced during dinner (and my senior
John Jr., was hired to be the general man- became the unrivaled market leader year of college) that he was selling the
ager starting in the mid 1950s for decades surpassed both my father’s business and if anyone wanted to pur-
In the mid 1960s, after the passing of and Mrs. Infeld’s wildest expectations. chase it they were free to do so.
William Gratz, his wife decided to sell off Thomastik-Infeld also developed the Sharing my father’s ability to see a
the company. My father, while just wel- first steel string for bowed instruments risk and take it, I put my name in the hat.
coming the birth of his fourth child (me) years earlier (1919)– another revolu- Now I just needed a loan. Apparently my
and starting to build a house for his fam- tionar