In 1939, two gentlemen by the names of Jess MIDow and Sam CampBELL started a music business in Fort Dodge, Iowa. MIDBELL Music engaged in the business of providing products and services to the Fort Dodge music community. In the 60’s the company extended their presence in northwest Iowa and opened stores in Jefferson, Webster City, and Storm Lake. As school music business expanded in the 60’s, the company also acquired stores in Spencer, Iowa and Mankato & Fairmont Minnesota.
Ray Guntren began working at Storm Lake MIDBELL Music in 1969 as an apprentice technician. In 1972 Ray was offered the position of Manager of the newly opened Sioux City store.
In 1976, several employees joined the corporation by purchasing stock options in MidBell Music Company, Inc. In 1980, MidBell Music Company, Inc. dissolved and four new corporations were formed to purchase the remaining branch stores in Storm Lake, Fort Dodge, & Sioux City, Iowa and Mankato, Minnesota. Ray Guntren formed a partnership with Joe McCormick for purchase of the Sioux City store.
In 1982, Ray Guntren acquired all shares in the Sioux City store, McCormick-Guntren Music Corporation, d/b/a Ray’s Mid-Bell Music, from partner/shareholder, Joe McCormick.
In 1997, Ray’s son Mike Guntren, graduated with a Music degree from Morningside College and joined the company as Educational Service Representative continuing the MidBell tradition of outstanding customer service and support of music programs and educators.
In 1999, Duane Olson, owner of Storm Lake MidBell Music Co., retired and closed his store. The assets of his corporation were sold to Ray’s Mid-Bell Music and Rieman Music in Des Moines. This important event meant significant growth for Ray’s Mid-Bell Music.
Mike Guntren took on the duties of General Manager in Sept. 2003. The company, now having outgrown its facility intensely searched for a larger location. In order to grow as a business, Ray’s Mid-Bell Music needed to provide music lessons and needed to be located in a high traffic retail area.
March 1st, 2006 Ray’s Mid-Bell Music opened its doors in a brand new 10,200 square foot building with an expanded retail show floor, a Learning Center with 8 teaching studios and recital room, a warehouse and expanded repair facility.
Today, Ray’s Mid-Bell Music is the only Iowa MIDBELL in existence. The school routes for Ray’s MidBell Music include all of Northwest Iowa, as well as parts of Southern Minnesota, Southeast South Dakota and Northeast Nebraska. Ray’s MidBell Music employs 21 full/part time professionals to serve the needs of our music communities. The company is accessible via web site at www.midbellmusic.com and toll free at 800-798-1000. The store is located at 4230 S. Lancelot Lane behind Outback Steakhouse in Sioux City. In addition there are three satellite operations in LeMars and Spencer, Iowa and Worthington, MN. These independent contractors expand the territory by providing a convenient location for those communities to rent an instrument.
The company offers a flexible, convenient and low cost rental-purchase plan as well as discounted accessories, method books, and a large selection of pop music. Most major band instrument brands are represented as well as an excellent selection of student and intermediate orchestra instruments which are available for lease, purchase, or rental purchase. Ray’s Mid-Bell Music also has an impressive display of combo and percussion products. The company offers a full compliment of instrument repair services. The company offers a LOWEST PRICE GUARANTEE on most instruments.
Ray’s Mid-Bell’s goal is TOTAL CUSTOMER SATISFACTION. The company’s growth can be attributed to personal contact with music educators and a dedication to providing exceptional service and support to our customers. This philosophy, combined with the support of the Siouxland music community, a state-of-the-art facility, a constantly evolving digital infrastructure, and most importantly hard working, dependable employees makes Ray’s Mid-Bell Music the leading music retailer in Siouxland.