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The Listening Room

"We've been married for 50 years. We met in high school. After high school, we went down to Chicago and Tom went to trade school. After he graduated, we moved back and both of us were looking for a job. There was an ad in the paper for a store sort of like a Best Buy. This was in the early 70s and they had developed 68 stores throughout the Midwest, the first one they put in Michigan was at Fashion Square Mall.

They hired both of us. My thought was, this will give me something to do between cracking the books and getting “real” work. I just never got around to getting the real work.

We were with those folks for about nine years, and one day they just quietly closed their doors and went away. The store here in Saginaw had been doing pretty well. We established this client list, and nobody was going to do anything with it if we didn't. So, the fella that was our assistant manager, he and I formed a partnership, and Marilyn entered the business as well.

We started the Listening Room.

Our first 15 years we were next door to Records and Tapes Galore. We thought if we had more showroom space, we could make that part of our business really grow. So we bought a building out on State Street that gave us a lot more room. Things were going very well.

We were starting to work with a lot of builders as new homes were being built. Then 2007 came along, and overnight, no one built houses anymore. By this time, that had become about 60% of our business. So, we immediately put the store property up for sale, we sold off our company trucks, we had to lay a couple of people off. The whole idea was to downsize and get back to a place with a little bit less overhead so that we could continue to exist. Marilyn found this place on Court Street and we took a shot.

When we started the Listening Room it was for the love of music. We focused on high-performance sound reproduction. Eventually, our industry gravitated toward home theater and marrying video with sound. We, of course, followed that trend too and that's been an important part of the evolution of the shop.

However the shop evolves, the main idea stays the same: listening to good quality music on a nice reproducing system is something that really lifts the spirits."

- Tom and Marilyn Roddamer,  The Listening Room