A QUICK HISTORY OF KRAFT MUSIC
Founder, Roger Kraft
Roger performs as a keyboard player, organist, and trumpeter in multiple bands and as a solo act from the time that he’s a teenager. He’s always “ahead of the curve,” pushing the limits of the organ and synthesizer products available at the time. He created this custom organ in 1978 that included the guts of a Hammond B3, a Moog Satellite, Minimoog, and an ARP String Ensemble. This creation later surfaces in 1999 as Keyboard Magazine’s featured “Keyboard of the month.”
The Beginning of “Kraft Keyboards”
Roger's interest in music and technology takes him into the music product business, as he sees a need for a store focused on the latest gear. Kraft Keyboards is incorporated, serving musicians seeking analog, digital, hi-tech synthesizers, keyboards, recording gear, and the newly created computer-music category of products. This "store-within-a-store” is first located in West Allis, WI, inside Ralph Hanzel Music.
Milwaukee’s Eastside Synth Store
Shortly after incorporating, Kraft Keyboards relocates to Milwaukee's Eastside, which quickly became THE technology store to visit in southeastern Wisconsin. Clients drove long distances to put their hands on new technology, such as the Emu Emulator, Ensoniq EPS, Roland D-50, and Korg M1, MOTU Performer and others.
Roger’s son Ben joins Kraft Keyboards to begin serving musicians throughout the U.S. while utilizing the internet and services like AOL™, CompuServe™, and Usenet newsgroups.
Kraft's first website was born in 1995, and the name was changed to "Kraft Music" to broaden the scope of what the company could be.
New Brookfield Location
Web business grows and forces a move, as the current small space could not handle the growing business.
Secure E-commerce Site Launched
The first kraftmusic.com secure e-commerce site is created, and begins a couple of decades of growth and expansion.
Roger sells the business to son Ben, and Kraft Music focuses on its e-commerce future.
Larger Facility Built
Once again, Kraft runs out of space and is forced to move. This time, a much larger facility was built, allowing for much room for expansion.
Kraft Music’s growth propels us to the esteemed Music Trades list of Top 200 Musical Instrument Dealers.
The Kraft Music YouTube Channel begins. 60 Million views later, it remains a major part of our day-to-day efforts.
Double-digit year over year gains, yet again, puts a squeeze on space. Kraft Music opens their first dedicated Distribution Center nearby in Franklin, WI.
Guitars for Vets
Our relationship with “Guitars For Vets” begins with a donation from Ben and Nikki Kraft of (100) Yamaha FG Acoustic Guitars.
The Milwaukee Business Journal includes Kraft Music as one their “Fastest Growing Firms."
Dealer of the Year
National magazine publisher Music & Sound Retailer names Kraft Music the “Single Store Dealer of the Year."
Oakwood Park Headquarters
Oakwood Park Headquarters - A new goal has been achieved! In March of 2018, we moved our entire team into a 72,000 square foot facility that combines Sales, Marketing, and Fulfillment.
Kraft Music’s 35th Anniversary!
Special thanks to all of our customers, friends, vendors, and employees - our team - who have supported us during this journey.
- 2018, Kawai “Dealer of the Year - Professional Products
- 2017, Music & Sound Retailer “Single-Store Dealer of the Year”
- 2017, Casio - “2017 Key Partner”
- 2016, Kawai “Dealer of the Year - Professional Products”
- 2016, Presonus “Dealer of the Year”
- 2016, Korg USA “Dealer of the Year
- 2015, Kawai “Dealer of the Year - Professional Products”
- 2015, Korg USA Key Note Award - Commitment to Excellence
- 2014, Alfred Music “Premier Dealer”
- 2014, Milwaukee Business Journal - “Fastest Growing Firms”
- 2014, Nord “Record Sales Achievement Award”
- 2014, Roland/Boss - Outstanding Achievement
- 2014, On-Stage “Dealer of the Year” award
- 2017, Roland/Boss - Sales Excellence
- 2014, Kawai “Dealer of the Year - Professional Products”
- 2013, Music Inc. “Retailer Excellence Award”
- 2013, Moog Music, Inc. “Dealer of the Year - Midwest Region”
- 2013, Korg USA Key Note Award - Commitment to Excellence
- 2012, Korg USA Key Note Award - Commitment to Excellence
- 2012, Music Inc. “Retail Excellence Award”
- 2011, Fender Passport “Top 10 Sales Performer”
- 2011, Korg USA Key Note Award - Commitment to Excellence
- 2010, Music Inc. “Retail Excellence Award - Best Niche”
- 2009, Music Trades “Top 200"