Home Business St. Thomas business @Work: Modern Music

@Work: Modern Music


March 17, 2005 – The year was 1987, a time when most people were still listening to cassette tapes in boom boxes, DVDs were some futuristic fantasy, and children playing video games on their Segas couldn't imagine the graphic superiority that would come with the Xbox. That's when Chrys Hansen opened Modern Music in Havensight, a music store that brought modern entertainment to St. Thomas. Two years later he followed with a second story in Nisky Center.
"I just saw the opportunity," Hansen says. "It was right at the beginning of CDs."
In the early years about half of the stock was still made up of cassette tapes. But Modern Music quickly lived up to its name, selling the latest CDs, DVDs, games for Playstation II, Xbox and Game Cubes. About seven years ago the store in Havensight started renting DVDs. Once again, Hansen found himself on the cusp of something new – so new that very few people had DVD players, and suppliers couldn't get him what he wanted. He had to resort to buying the DVDs from Tower Records.
"I have a philosophy about being a storekeeper; customers come in and vote with their pocket book. They give me the responsibility of supplying the entertainment they want to utilize," says Hansen. "It's customers who make the store, not the owner."
A customer request sheet next to the register is there to fulfill the customer's wishes. If someone is interested in seeing a certain CD, DVD or game in the store, "I'll order it," says Hansen. "If one person has an interest, someone else will come in looking for it."
Store employees are exposed to a wealth of music and entertainment knowledge, so much so that they can answer just about any question. Hansen prides himself on stocking the shelves with foreign films and other titles you won't find at Blockbuster.
"I wouldn't say we specialize in the esoteric but we make it available," says Hansen. "If there's a buzz about something I'll go with it."
Modern Music has a clientele made up largely of cruise-ship crew, whose diverse tastes keep the music selection interesting. The store carries a lot of R and B and reggae, and gives several local artists exposure by selling their CDs as well.
Hansen says the latest trend in buying music for iPods and MP3s has affected Modern Music in a small way. "I wonder what the future will be," says Hansen. "It's hard to say with technology. We're open to anything. It's a danger to stagnate. That's something we don't want to do."
Modern Music is open in Havensight from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week. The Nisky Center location is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The stores are also the premier ticket outlet for events on the island.


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