Art Freehling

Jazz, Marching Band Art's Music Store

Born:  Montgomery, AL

Died: 4/9/1998

Source: Alabama Music Hall of Fame



Alabama's Centennial Retailers

Art's Music Shop Inc.

Montgomery, Dothan and Birmingham

Founded in 1905 by Albert and Art Freehling

Owner: Paul Freehling

Award Given: 2007


BIRMINGHAM - Art’s Music Shop Inc. with stores in Montgomery, Dothan and Birmingham was among seven Alabama Centennial Retailers – retailers with 100 or more years in business in Alabama – honored today by the  Alabama Retail Association  (ARA).

“For businesses to survive and thrive despite the dramatic changes of the past century is a remarkable achievement,” said ARA President Rick Brown.  “It is fitting to celebrate the enduring contributions Arts Music Shop has made to the communities it serves.”

Alabama Centennial Retailers were honored at the UAB 2007 Retail Day Luncheon at The Sheraton Birmingham Hotel.  Each received a bronze plaque to place outside of the business and a certificate suitable for display inside.

Art’s Music Shop Inc. was founded in 1905 by Albert Freehling in Montgomery. In the 1930's, his son Art Freehling took over the helm and worked every day until he was 94. Today, the Freehling family continues to operate this school service music store in three Alabama cities, serving music students, school bands, orchestras, music professionals as well as general music programs throughout Alabama and nearby states. It sells and rents instruments, repairs instruments and sells instrument parts, sells printed music and even offers in-the-band-room service for pick-up and delivery of instruments, instrument repairs, books and accessories.

Art’s son, Paul Freehling, came into the store in 1967 after attending the University of Alabama and has been the chief executive officer since 1970. He accepted the award at the Retail Day luncheon from ARA Chairman Ken Hubbard (see photo.) Two of Paul’s daughters now work in the business. Jessica Freehling-Kazzie worked for the business as a teen-ager and came back in 1989 after attending Auburn University and Berklee College of Music. She has managed several of the stores and currently is the assistant corporate general manager. Jennifer Freehling started her career at Art's in 2004 after attending Tulane University and is in charge of computer data entry.

More than 200 schools and directors in Alabama, Georgia, Florida and Mississippi have chosen this fourth generation family retailer as their sole music provider. In 1970, the company was recognized as National Brand Names Retailer of the Year by the Brand Names Foundation. Its many honors also include being named one of the “Top Music Store Chains in the Country” by Musical Merchandise Review; and Music Trades Magazine has named it one of the “Top 50 Music Stores.”

Raymond E. Cohen of Cohen’s Electronics and Appliances in Montgomery, which this year celebrated its 50th year in business, nominated Art’s Music Shop as a Centennial Retailer.





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