Grandma’s Music & Sound is currently the largest music store in the state of New Mexico—in terms of both square footage and sales—but that wasn’t always the case. Thirty years ago, when Micky Patten first moved to Albuquerque, he barely intended to open a music store in the first place.
“No one was hiring,” recalled Patten, a working musician who had been employed by a music store in Michigan and who’d figured that’s what he would do in New Mexico, as well. “So, two weeks later, I decided to open a music store of my own,” he said.
Grandma’s Music & Sound
9310 Coors NW
Albuquerque, NM 87114
Mon-Fri 10am to 6:30pm
Sat 10am to 6pm
Sun 12pm to 5pm
Micky Patten, Owner
Before he knew it, Patten was the sole employee of a 1,500-square-foot store in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains. Even though Patten played bass professionally, Grandma’s Music & Sound was not primarily a guitar shop. “No good guitar lines were available to me at that time because I didn’t have credit,” said Patten, who instead focused on recording equipment, keyboards and MIDI products from brands like Roland, Ensoniq, Sequential Circuits, Emu Systems and TASCAM.
“That was the technology of the ’80s. That’s what was popular back then,” Patten continued, adding that he had a working knowledge of pro audio equipment through some experience in the recording studio and at the studio at his college. “No one in our area was addressing that market adequately.”
Two months after opening his store, Patten was able to get a line of credit for his business and, in 1989, added a guitar and drum department to the store, with Fender as the first major guitar line. The early struggles in getting to that point “taught me an important lesson about how fast you need to sell your merchandise in order to pay the bills,” said Patten. “I learned how to get good product lines and make relationships, not just with manufacturers but also with people like your CPA, your lawyer and your computer guy.”
One relationship in particular that Patten forged that first year in business has helped to carry Grandma’s Music & Sound to the top of the market. “In the first year, I hired Brad Clement, and we ran the store together for four years,” said Patten. “Then, when his brother Ryan moved here from California, we hired him and he was great. He outsold both of us and he grew to have quite a following. He’s still with us 26 years later, and he’s now the Store Manager.”
Today, Ryan Clement runs the store alongside Patten’s wife, Patty, who runs the office and most of the operations; Patten is more of the “visionary,” looking at the bigger picture. It’s a business that has grown exponentially, to say the least, in the