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Overbeek music store closing prompts NLFX to meet the gap

Brothers Larry Overbeek, left, and Kevin Overbeek are closing Overbeek Electronics and Music after more than 30 years of operation. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer)1 / 2
NLFX Professional President Ben Stowe will open a showroom there to offer music equipment and more to the Bemidji community. Stowe said they play to officially open in April. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer)2 / 2

BEMIDJI—Although one Bemidji music store is in the process of closing, another business is expanding its offerings to help meet the gap.

Overbeek Electronics and Music, located at 502 Paul Bunyan Drive S., is closing after more than 30 years in the business. In response to that closure, NLFX Professional has opened a showroom to help supply to local musicians, creating an essentially seamless transition.

The decision to close Overbeek's was because of a couple of factors for brothers Larry and Kevin Overbeek.

"It's partially planned, because I'm retiring," Larry Overbeek said, while also acknowledging the increasingly difficult competition. "Part of it is that music stores everywhere are suffering. Business has definitely been way down with the internet. It couldn't be sustained anymore."

The brothers plan to officially close the business' doors at the end of March, although they don't have a firm date yet. Until then, the store is hosting a close-out sale. Some items, such as electric keyboards, already have all left the building. However, there's still a slew of other items available.

The store had offered a number of services during its three decades of business. In addition to retail, they collaborated with music teachers who held classes inside the store. They offered instrument and equipment repair. They also had offered car and home stereo installation services.

"We had dedicated five small rooms into music studios when we remodeled the building years ago," Larry Overbeek said. "We've had some teachers that have been with us for many, many years, which has been a good experience."

The business operated in downtown Bemidji for a few years before moving to its current location where it has remained ever since.

The Overbeek Electronics and Music building is set to be demolished, possibly as soon as April, and the sale of the land is pending.

NLFX Professional President Ben Stowe was disappointed at the thought of Bemidji being without a music store. As a result, he took the opportunity to open a showroom at NLFX Professional—a business already dealing in many of the same kinds of products. In essence, the showroom will allow the business to easily serve the local community, whereas before it had mostly focused on clientele outside the area.

According to its website, the company is a "national provider of over 70 brands of sound and lighting products to both the retail and wholesale markets."

Whereas the internet may have been part of the reason for Overbeek's closing, Stowe doesn't see that as much of a deterrent to NLFX Professional.

"Having a 25-year history of selling sound and lighting equipment has made us very well honed in what it takes to be competitive in that world," Stowe said. "It's like a bare-knuckled street fight on the internet, but we've been in that fight a long time. Because we're used to competing online, we know we can do well for our community."

Former Overbeek Electronics and Music customers will even see a familiar face at the showroom as longtime Overbeek employee Vicki Hegg has been hired by NLFX Professional, located at 1319 Naylor Drive SE in the industrial park.

The space now being used as the showroom was previously used for storage. Although they may tweak the hours with the opening of the showroom, the NLFX Professional office is already open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The company is targeting and official opening date in April. However, clients already have begun trickling into the company's showroom to see its various options.

In addition to opening its showroom, NLFX Professional plans to host services as well. Like Overbeeks' did prior, NLFX will offer instrument repair. They also plan to begin hosting some clinics, including one on recording systems that's already being planned.

"People are bummed that Overbeeks is closing, and that's a testament to what those guys have done," Stowe said, while also showing his excitement for the possibilities ahead. "I'm excited about us growing music in this town. We're going to bring things to Bemidji, and it's going to be awesome."

Jordan Shearer

Jordan Shearer covers crime and social issues for the Bemidji Pioneer. A Rochester native and Bemidji State grad, he previously spent several years in western Nebraska writing for the Keith County News. Follow him on Twitter @Jmanassa

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