The music man
Saied Music Co. is thriving after more than 70 years.
Saied Music employee Mick Meaders, left, and owner Bob Saied. Bob is the son of Jimmy Saied, who founded the company in 1946.
In the early 1940s, Jimmy Saied was perfectly satisfied serving as a high school band director in El Reno, Oklahoma.
Then World War II came and, just as thousands of other patriotic Americans did, he enlisted in the U.S. Army. He was promised he could have his job back upon his return. Once the war was over, he returned to El Reno.
However, the friend he had recommended to replace him was older and had three children. Sympathetic and not wanting to displace a family man when jobs were already tight, Saied decided to strike out on his own. He heard Tulsa lacked a band instrument store, so he and a partner, Paul Stuart, headed to Tulsa to hang their shingle.
The post-war economy was tough, but Saied was able to scrape up enough money to follow his dream and open his store. The original downtown location was at 610 S. Main St. with the grand opening set for Jan. 10, 1946.
Only three people showed up that first day — his wife; his 1-year-old son, Bobby; and a band director friend. But the business slowly grew, and Saied recognized the need to be frugal. His daily lunch was a 15-cent bowl of chili, but on days when an instrument was sold, he would celebrate with a 35-cent blue plate special.
In 1948, the store moved to 111 E. Third St., where it remained for 17 years. The Tulsa Performing Arts Center occupies the site today.
Saied’s son Bob got his start in the business during his high school and college days, helping to repair instruments. Ultimately, he moved up to head the company and lead it into new markets.
Saied Music now has three stores in Arkansas, two in Tulsa and one in Texas. “We are probably among the top 10 full-line music stores in the country,” Bob Saied says.
A major line of business is servicing schools: renting or selling instruments, supplying sheet music and hosting lessons.
However, says Ron Kuykendall, band and orchestra manager for Saied Music, “We do much more than just sell music to schools. We provide an opportunity to make music a significant part of a child’s life.”