Reflections on Winning Namm’s Dealer of the Year
When asked to describe the experience of winning NAMM’s 2016 “Dealer of the Year” award, and what it was like for Contemporary Music Center, the only fitting descriptor is “surreal.”
We have had the honor of winning a spot in the NAMM Top 100 Awards for six straight years, and as the competition continues to grow, we realize more and more that receiving that recognition is a unique achievement. CMC has been nominated twice in different individual categories, but the competition has always been tough, and until this year we had never experienced winning one of the top categories. This year was certainly a different story.
The opening category of the night was “Best Store Design,” and the nominees were presented in alphabetical order. Contemporary Music Center was the first name announced, and it was then that the night took on a life of its own. Steelwood Guitar Shop won the category this year for a wonderfully unique and clever store design. The third category was for “Best Marketing and Sales Promotion,” and this year that category went to CMC…and the rest of our night was a completely overwhelming and unique experience.
From the second you are announced as a category winner, your night changes dramatically. What everyone in the audience sees is the short interview on stage, and then the winner is escorted off. What isn’t seen is the experience the dealer has backstage after he or she has won. One second after you finish on stage, you are escorted off stage, and as you pass through the curtains, you are greeted, congratulated, and directed. First, you exchange the stage trophy for your engraved trophy, then you are directed through a second curtain and are guided to the Top 100 “step and repeat” banner.
You are overwhelmed with congratulatory comments, and waiting to greet you at the banner is NAMM’s President Joe Lamond, along with NAMM’s Chairman Mark Goff. Publicity photos are taken, and after a wonderful celebratory moment, you are escorted to do a short filmed interview with NAMM’s professional crew. Then the second you finish your interview, you are escorted back to the ballroom, and you return to your table. Keep in mind the evening’s events are still going on.
Where our night was turned inside out and became completely crazy was the moment when we won our second category: “Music Makes a Difference. “ No sooner had we returned to our table when the category was announced, and CMC was the winner. Again we ran the drill…but this time it all seemed larger than life as the excitement level had certainly escalated. Then the “Dealer of the Year” category finalists were announced. All three finalists in this category were extremely qualified to win, and all three have had a big impact on the music retail industry. Then it happened – the announcer called out the name of the winner for the NAMM “Dealer of the Year”: Contemporary Music Center! From that second forward, our world has been completely and wonderfully crazy.
The biggest takeaway for me personally is the chance that it has provided to reflect on the quality of all the friendships that people in our industry make over the years. Everyone you know takes extra care to make sure they express congratulations, and then they share kind thoughts about the offering you have brought to the music industry.
Winning “Dealer of the Year” makes you humbly reflect upon all of the steps it takes to capture that moment. You recognize how extremely qualified all the Top 100 dealers are; yet, you grasp with great clarity how honored you are to represent that group as the one who froze time for one second in your career and got the industry’s nod as Namm’s “Dealer of the Year.”