It is with sadness that Barnes & Mullins announces the retirement of MD Bruce Perrin after 54 years of service to the music industry.
“It is with mixed emotions that after 54 years in the music industry I have decided to retire and begin spending my children’s inheritance,” states Perrin. “I think myself very lucky to have been a part of a business that has enabled so many people to follow their musical dreams. I have many fond memories, met some wonderful people, and built many great friendships too. I’m sure I will miss being part of the Barnes & Mullins family, but I’m happy that Brian and the team I leave behind will continue to run the company successfully and never forget our core values. May the ‘Barnes factor’ live on!”
Perrin, who began his music industry career at Cambridge Music Shop in 1968, moved to Barnes & Mullins as a shop manager for B&M-owned Scarth Music Store on Charing Cross Road, London in 1977. In 1980, when the store was demolished due to redevelopment, Perrin was taken in-house to work in the Barnes & Mullins warehouse, famously located on Grays Inn Road, Kings Cross.
The 1970s and 80s was an exciting time for Barnes & Mullins. Being based in the heart of bustling London, musicians of all types knew and loved B&M, and Perrin’s time there is remembered with great fondness by a host of MI stalwarts.
“It was a remarkable time,” says Perrin. “We had a phone in the middle of the warehouse which would ring constantly. I have great memories of the staff and customers of that period, and in particular Mr Mark Barnes, son of the late S.Bowley Barnes. Mark Barnes gave me my ‘break’ into the wider industry, for which I have always been thankful. He was a kind and fair man, and it is with him in mind that I have always personally tried to embody the ‘Barnes factor’ when personally dealing with customers, suppliers and staff.”
Upon the death of Mark Barnes in 1986, the company was put into a trust, split between family and the existing directors, with Bruce being the Sales Director. It wasn’t until 1997 that Perrin took up the role of Managing Director, and just a few years later in April 2000, took the step of moving the distribution company to Oswestry, Shropshire to sit alongside B&M’s existing manufacturing company. The first few years of the 2000s were tricky times for B&M, but thanks to his reputation for fairness – and no small amount of personal tenacity – Perrin guided the company through this challenging period, culminating in 2009’s management buyout alongside joint managing director, Brian Cleary.
Since this time, Barnes & Mullins has gone from strength to strength, winning multiple product and supplier awards, and Bruce himself being presented with a Lifetime Achievement award by NAMM in 2014 and the MIA in 2017.
When asked for comment about Bruce’s retirement, Brian Cleary, B&M’s joint managing director said, “Not only has Bruce been a wonderful business partner but also a very dear friend for many years. His contribution to the success of Barnes & Mullins has been immeasurable and I know I will miss him being here greatly.”
Having personally notified a great deal of his industry friends, although sad that traditional, in-person goodbyes at recent trade shows have not been possible due to the covid restrictions, Bruce will serve his final day as B&M’s joint managing director on 31st October 2021.
All at Barnes & Mullins will miss this kind and generous man who successfully embodied the ‘Barnes factor’, just as he intended.