LOUISVILLE, KY

- Despite generating $3.5 million in 2010 revenue, Louisville's First Quality Music  lost $80,000 last year. Founded in 1970, the second generation family-owned wood instrument components firm revealed to the New York Times last week that it has been losing money for several years.

First Quality Music got its start 40 years ago building banjo parts and crafting custom wood replacement  parts for guitars, mandolins and other instruments, and hunting game calls.

Well known guitar brands it provides for include Gibson, Taylor, Epiphone, Martin, Ernie Ball, and Sullivan. First Quality Music also builds custom parts and repairs existing one. The firm alsobecame a wood components supplier to Gibson Guitars, the New York Times reported.

As part of a plan to grow, the First Quality Music introduced its own banjo line, Greenbrier, and scaled up to move its production operations into a factory setting.

But the increased overhead has been draining the nine-employee firm, say owners Jeff and Eric Sullivan. The two retained American Management Services, Orlando, FL, to outline a turnaround plan. The firm becames a consultant on call, for a retainer of  $170,000.

A follow-up report says First Quality Music reached break-even during the last two months of 2010, as it focuses on production of products that differentiate it. It has also signed up a network of dealers for its instruments, and has a contract to supply Pro Bass Shops with game call whistles.

American Management Services says it has succesfully consulted with other wood products firms - including a 250-employee manufacturer of log home kits, a $5.5 million lacrosse equipment supplier, and a a 27-employee store fixture manufacturer.

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