If you want to get your child guitar lessons for Christmas, if your daughter needs to rent a flute for her band class or if you need a bottle of slide oil for your trombone and you live in the St. Louis area, you go to Nottelmann Music Company.
There are few music students in south St. Louis county who don’t know that Nottelmann Music Company is the best place to go for knowledgeable help, lessons and supplies. But when you’re a music student in the Mehlville School District, the name Nottelmann means more than just music.
While Bill Nottelmann was known as “Mr. Music Man” around town, he was also considered to be the biggest supporter of the Mehlville School District. As the first band director of Mehlville High School, Mr. Nottelmann continued to serve the music programs across his home district and the surrounding St. Louis districts. He was also instrumental in the creation of the Mehlville-Oakville Alumni Association.
It’s no wonder that in 2013, when the district built a new auditorium, they honored Mr. Nottelmann by naming it after him. Mr. Nottelmann was able to attend a performance there before his death in 2015. As his daughter Jan Gerfen said in his Alumni Association Hall of Fame Induction video, “He was very dedicated to helping the school…He did live and breathe Mehlville. He really did.”
Today, the legacy of Bill Nottelmann lives on in the two Nottelmann Music Company locations. When you enter a store, you immediately get the sense that this place is all substance, and very little show. The walls are lined with ukuleles, banjos and guitars, the displays behind the counter are filled with trumpet mutes, electric guitar cords and other parts and you can probably catch a glimpse of an instrument repair happening just beyond the door to the back rooms.
You are quickly greeted when you walk in, and every staff member is equipped to help you choose a bassoon reed softness, recommend whether you should rent an instrument or simply borrow one from school and can offer tips on maintaining your instrument.
Mr. Nottelmann’s daughter Jan and her husband Dennis have owned the company since 1984, but Mr. Nottelmann continued to be the public face of Nottelmann Music Company for many years. Now in its second and third generations of family ownership, the stores have changed little and still celebrate the focus on supporting music programs in the Mehlville School District.
From a marketing perspective, the focus of Nottelmann Music Company on promoting music and the strength of the community mean that no student in the district would ever think of ordering musical supplies on Amazon.