Women Who Achieve: Judy Doyle
Strings N’ Things
I’ve been a customer of PNC and its predecessors since the ’70s … I have appreciated the helpful staff, convenient location and extra care my bankers have taken to ensure our business thrives.
Strings Shop Strikes a Chord with Musicians
Dedicated musicians understand that the integrity of their instrument is vital to the quality of their music. That’s why many of Cincinnati’s most discerning musicians, including professionals and rising stars in local school districts, rely on Strings N’ Things, the violin shop owned and operated by Judy Doyle and luthier (violin maker) Jim Johnson.
“We started Strings N’ Things as a side business in 1991,” recalls Judy, who at the time owned and managed apartment buildings. “I reached out to music teachers at local middle and high schools to see if their students’ instruments required repair; within a week, we had $800 worth of business. More importantly, many of the teachers I spoke with expressed disappointment in the quality of their rental instruments. They asked if we would consider renting. We recognized a great opportunity to fulfill a need for high-quality instruments.”
Judy and Jim discovered a gold mine in a Columbus violin shop that was closing: The elderly gentleman who was retiring was selling a variety of high-quality German-crafted stringed instruments. They bought his inventory and their full-time business began. “We started investing in the business at every opportunity,” Judy says. “As I transitioned from real estate, for example, I invested profits from selling my apartment buildings.”
The World’s Finest Craftsmanship
Their early investments enabled Judy and Jim to begin traveling globally in their quest for outstanding instruments. They have purchased antique European violins, which Jim restores, at auctions in Paris, and have traveled to China to visit the factory of a major supplier. They sell some of their best instruments to professional players — members of the Cincinnati Orchestra and Dayton Philharmonic, for example — and sell or rent the other high-quality yet affordable instruments to students.
Judy explains, “Having the right instrument is essential to learning and performing. Two instruments that look exactly the same may sound and play completely differently. Good music teachers understand this and send their students to us, because we take the time to help each student choose the ideal instrument, and then we adjust the instrument to his or her specific needs.”
Controlled Growth, Continuing Success
Although Jim and Judy now have thousands of instruments in their shop, they plan to maintain their boutique philosophy, Judy says. “We never want to get so big that we’re mass-marketing instruments and providing mediocre quality. These musicians deserve the finest instruments and personal, expert care and support.”
Who supports Judy and Jim? PNC, with a variety of business products and services. “I’ve been a customer of PNC and its predecessors since the ’70s,” says Judy. “Over the years, I have appreciated the helpful staff, convenient location and extra care my bankers have taken to ensure our business thrives.”
Judy Doyle, Co-owner
Company: Strings N’ Things
Location: Cincinnati, OH
When the vocation you enjoy also makes a positive impact on others, they will succeed right along with you.
Women Who Achieve
Real Women. Real Stories. »