Rob Hanson and Andy Still are celebrating their 20th year with John Packer Ltd. this summer.
In the year of 1998 where Titanic won 11 Oscars, Google was founded, Europeans agreed on a single currency and Frank Sinatra died, Rob and Andy joined the company. Rob – who has remained in the North of England – travelled as a road rep for the company, while Andy managed the Portland Street shop.
Retailing musical instruments had received a huge boost in the late 90s by the introduction of Wider Opportunities in the UK. Musical Education was valued and millions of pounds were spent by schools, music services and Local Education Authorities on musical instruments. Rob and Andy helped manage the demand in their respective roles.
In the course of their 20 years in the business, some well-known brands have ceased manufacturing; such as Boosey & Hawkes, Rudall Carte and Arbiter. Meanwhile the own brand of JP Musical Instruments – born out of the demand for quality and affordable instruments – began, with the Portland oboe the very first instrument to bear John’s name.
Rob and Andy’s years with John Packer total the same as our Workshop Manager Gary Dickinson’s 40 years’ experience. Gary was John Packer’s first employee back in 1978. That year saw the release of ‘Grease’, the first test tube baby and Smurfs on telly for the first time!
During the past 40 years, the company has continued to expand in staff, premises and the range of JP Musical Instruments. Rob has risen to the Companies Sales and Marketing Director and as well as day to day sale strategies leads the Global manufacturing and exporting of instruments, while Andy continues to manage the busy retail team.
The shop moved from Portland Street to a larger outlet on Staplegrove Road and also occupies three warehouses in the UK as well as one in the USA. Despite the growth, the family atmosphere of the company has remained and has been a stable employer for a community of musicians and non-musicians. The company makes up 21 members of staff. A remarkable 2/3rds have clocked up 10 years’ service for an industry they hold dear.
With the increased exporting of the JP brand of instruments around the globe it surely won’t be long before the company will expand yet further…
PHOTO: (from left) John Packer, Gary Dickinson, Rob Hanson and Andy Still.