For the Kent Reporter
J.W. Pepper President Glenn Burtch says he often encounters people who are surprised by the complexity of his company’s business.
For Pepper stores like the one in Kent and other organizations throughout the country, it takes a tremendous amount of planning and work to distribute large volumes of sheet music and other music products to schools and churches. That effort occurs quietly behind the walls of Pepper’s distribution centers.
“Not a lot of people wonder how their children receive sheet music each year that’s just right for the students’ grade level or how their church found that perfect song,” Burtch said. “Our staff is very dedicated to making that possible.”
That dedication caught the eye of the Fox Business Network, which picked J.W. Pepper & Son, Inc., as a company to feature in its Manufacturing Marvels segment. The staff that produces the feature extensively researched Pepper’s business before offering the spot, which will air on the business network on Tuesday, Oct. 30, between 7:30 and 7:44 p.m. and Wednesday, Oct. 31, between 6:30 and 6:44 p.m.
Pepper’s 142 years in the music industry made it a prime candidate. Another factor is the number of products the company handles. Pepper regularly keeps more than 125,000 products on the shelves, in addition to more than 50,000 products ready to ship to customers as soon as they are received at the warehouse. This includes items from thousands of music publishers, making Pepper one of the world’s largest retailers of sheet music.
“The hardest part of our distribution job is receiving that much product,” said Nick Buddock, vice president of operations. “I’m hoping the television feature gives viewers a better understanding of what happens behind the scenes.”
The cameraman for the Fox Business piece took drone video and other footage at Pepper’s 76,000-square-foot distribution center in Lithia Springs, Ga. The company has another distribution center in Salt Lake City, Utah. It also has its headquarters in Exton, Pa., and 12 stores in 10 states, including the one in Kent at 7611 S. 180th St.
Pepper made its distribution model 10 years ago. The company used to manually fill orders from 15 store locations. That was less customer friendly since recipients could end up receiving four boxes from four different locations to complete one order.
Now scanner guns, more computerized information and centralized shipping make the process much more efficient for staff and customers. The company also offers an ePrint option for more than 200,000 sheet music compositions, allowing customers to print their own music or view it digitally on the ePrintGo app.
Burtch and Buddock said they are excited for people to see what Pepper does. The video segment will give viewers a look at the massive expanse of boxes Pepper handles to bring music to the doorsteps of people across the country. Burtch says that he hopes this will showcase the company’s commitment to provide what music teachers, directors and musicians need.
“Our staff is filled with people who recognize the great importance of music in our society,” Burtch said. “I’m hoping this piece gives insight into how much we care about serving our customers.”