In 1964 at 8 P.M ET, The Beatles played Sullivan. A young Doug Smith watched his parent’s black and white television as John, Paul, George and Ringo made music and television history. At that moment around the world, the performance was inspiring an entire generation to become musicians and rock stars, including Doug. He would grow to be a talented percussionist and eventually owner of The Drum Smith drum shop in Struthers, Ohio. Walk into The Drum Smith and Doug will probably greet you at the door with a handshake, a “How’re ya doing?” and plenty of contagious enthusiasm. It’s obvious he loves drums and knows his stuff. Doug has an entire life of percussion experience behind him, but Ringo Star on Ed Sullivan wasn’t the only thing to inspire him to pick up a set of sticks, “My two older siblings were in a school band. When I’d go to the concerts, it seemed like the percussionists were having the most fun, so here I am.” Doug’s passion for percussion is undeniable. After graduating high school he majored in percussion at Kent State University, and then took his skills on the road as a sales representative for the major drum producers. For seventeen years he traveled from store to store, though out the Midwest, selling everything from high hats to triangles and timpanis. He’s been in countless music shops. It would be an understatement to say he’s seen it all. However things changed for Doug when companies began downsizing their sales operations and he was let go. He was ready for a change anyway, “I was tired of being on the road all the time.” So he returned home to North East Ohio. He began hatching a plan and pooling his resources to open up his own business, the business that would eventually become The Drum Smith. Smith came home to the Greater Akron area and started an EBay business out of his basement. Naturally he was selling drums and drum accessories. The site gave his business the room it needed to grow. And his basement business took off. Customers from around the country and the world were buying Doug’s goods on the auction site. But his venture became so popular that he had to make an important decision about the future of his company, “In order to go legit and to grow I needed a brick and mortar shop.” Coincidentally at that time Craig Allen, the previous owner of The Drum Shop, was ready to leave the business. In May 2011 Doug moved into the old Drum Shop and opened up his store The Drum Smith, a percussionists Mecca. But why dedicate an entire store to only percussion instruments? Smith explained, “Typically in music stores drums are seen as an irritant. They’re loud, take up too much space, there’s a lot to know.” he said, “Dollar-wise, drums only account for about 10% of a typical music store’s sales, so most music stores don’t bother.” The Drum Smith doesn’t only offer a huge inventory– the shop offers lessons by some of the best drummers in the area, expert advice, repair and service. One of the special services Smith provides is free installation and tuning of any drum, no matter where you bought it. Being in the business for so long has its perks, for instance Doug can repair almost anything, “In most places if you bring a pedal in, they’ll sell you a new one. I can usually repair something like that for a $5 part”, Doug said. Walking into The Drum Smith customers will find percussion accessories, supplies, parts and instruments from floor to ceiling. An entire room of the shop is dedicated to cymbals, large and small. And if there’s something specific a customer needs, Doug can make a couple phone calls and have the product delivered directly to the store. It’s quite the change from selling drums from his basement, but Smith is on the right track. In a time when big business music stores are popping up on every corner, it’s easy to forget about the little guy. But once you take a step inside The Drum Smith, the only thing you’ll be forgetting is why you went to that big ass corporate store to being with. This holiday season support your local businesses. Buy right, buy local.