Our History

In 1939, Jess MIDdaugh and Sam CampBELL decided to start a music business in Fort Dodge, Iowa. Midbell Music emerged to provide products and services to the Fort Dodge music community. In the 1960’s, the company extended their presence in northwest Iowa and opened stores in Jefferson, Webster City, and Storm Lake. As school music business expanded, the company also acquired stores in Spencer, Iowa and Mankato and 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 at 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, and Sioux City, Iowa and Mankato, Minnesota. Ray Guntren formed a partnership with Joe McCormick for purchase of the Sioux City store. In 1982, he acquired all shares in the Sioux City store from partner shareholder.

In 1997, Ray’s son Mike Guntren, graduated with a Music degree from Morningside College and joined the company as an Educational Service Representative.  In doing so, Mike became part of the longstanding Midbell tradition of providing outstanding customer service and support of music programs, students and educators in schools throughout Siouxland.

In 1999, Duane Olson, owner of Storm Lake Midbell Music, retired and closed his store. The assets of his corporation were sold to Ray’s Midbell Music and Rieman Music in Des Moines. This meant significant growth for Ray’s Midbell Music.

Mike Guntren took on the duties of General Manager in Sept. 2003. The company, having outgrown its facility, intensely searched for a larger location. In order to grow as a business, Ray’s Midbell Music needed to provide music lessons and be located in a high traffic retail area.

On March 1, 2006, Ray’s Midbell 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 Midbell Music is the only Iowa Midbell in existence, and employs 21 full/part time professionals to serve the needs of our customers, students, families, schools and communities.

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