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Ron’s Music Center Celebrates Twenty Years on North Lamar

Oxford’s Ron Lakey has owned Ron’s Music Center at various locations around Oxford since 1982.

“The reason I got into the store business is that in 1975, I got in a real bad car wreck,” said Lakey. “Which is how I lost a lot of my eyesight. For that reason, I was more of a liability than an asset to anyone that I might work for. A vocational rehab counselor and I were working on that, and one day, just out of frustration, I said ‘Well, if I could do anything I’d probably put a music store in.’ He said ‘Well, let’s pursue that.’”

Ron Lakey
Ron Lakey

In 1979, Lakey purchased a small music store in Holly Springs with a $5,000 inventory. He ran the Holly Springs store for three and a half years before moving to Oxford.

“We came down here in ’82,” Lakey said. “Oxford was good to us business-wise, plus provided a good school system for our daughter,” Lakey said, referring to current Ole Miss Music Department Secretary Leigh Heard.

The first ten years of Ron’s Music Center in Oxford, the store was located on University Avenue, across from the current Lynch Oil Company location. After, he ran the store at the old Henry Hotel building, now occupied by several businesses including Rafter’s. He then moved back to another location on University Avenue. After a brief stint at the Corner Mall on University, he moved the store to its current location in the Mid-Town Shopping Center on North Lamar Avenue in August of 1996.

Originally from Ashland, Mississippi, Lakey professed that he doesn’t have an extensive background in music performance. “I was always interested in music,” Lakey said. “I took piano for probably five years. I’m not a real good musician. I’m a good rhythm guitar player. I enjoy music and ‘pickin’ and grinnin’’.”

Among the famous who have appeared in Lakey’s store are actress Joey Lauren Adams, guitarist and Ole Miss alumnus Josh Kelly, blues musician Son Thomas, and Eli Manning. “Leigh (Lakey’s daughter) and I got to meet Joey Lauren Adams one day,” said Lakey. “She’s been in two or three times. It was Leigh’s highlight, but I’m a little bit of a fan of hers also.”

Ron's Music Center is located at 717 N Lamar Boulevard.
Ron’s Music Center is located at 717 N Lamar Boulevard.

Lakey reflected on his favorite parts of running a music store. “I love the fellowship. I like the selling part, but I’ve come to know so many people in and around Oxford, and from out of town. I’ve dealt with so many people from the University, and got to know music professors at the University like Andrew Fox, John McCauley and Bob Jordan.”

With any luck, Ron’s Music Center will be serving Oxford for another twenty years.

Bill DeJournett is a musician and freelance writer based in Oxford. He can be reached at dejou@olemiss.edu

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