The Petty Archives

Sims Music and Sound to close
By Anthony Clark
Gainesville Sun - February 18, 2009

The guitars, amplifiers and drums are down to a precious few, and the gold and platinum records that lined the walls are back in storage as Sims Music and Sound prepares to close shop at the end of the month after more than 20 years in business.

Jeff Sims said the music retail landscape left him a choice - grow or move on. He said he made the difficult decision to close last month and started telling people a couple weeks ago.

"I went in to do it to follow my passion and just make a modest living. It's mission accomplished. I feel really good about it, but with the encroachment of online shopping and the chain stores, I found to be competitive, I really couldn't keep it small. I never wanted to have multiple stores. It's as much real estate as I want to handle," he said of his shop at 4000 Newberry Road.

The guitarist for the regional band The Desperados in the late 1970s started the business as a sound contractor, installing sound systems in public schools and churches. He branched out into instruments and in recent years dropped sound contracting, other than the occasional maintenance and repair jobs.

The clientele included mostly local working musicians, high school kids and parents and college students.

After the last of his original partners sold his stake, Sims' longtime friend Stan Lynch, original drummer for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, bought in. Sims said Lynch was an active partner, helping choose product and getting the word out.

It was Sims' idea to display Lynch's awards - gold and platinum records and an MTV moon man from his work playing, songwriting and producing for Petty, Stevie Nicks, the Mavericks, Don Henley, the Eagles and Tim McGraw, and Sims Music's work with Henley.

As he said on the store's MySpace page, the awards were not to show off. "It's just to show folks that we've been around the block and we can help you with some advice."

Sims said he doesn't know what his next move will be, but on Monday he was working on his resume with an advisor.

"I put a bunch of technical stuff down and he said, 'You've managed people and taught them how to present themselves and their products, so a good fit would be leading a team.' I just don't know what field it's going to be in yet."