Our History

Clifford, Loud & Clear's Viceroy

From the Ashes of Zone Music, the Future is Loud and Clear

When Cotati’s Zone Music closed in August 2010, business manager Neville Hormuz wasn’t planning on opening a retail music shop, let alone in the same location. But that’s what he did just two months later, opening Loud and Clear Audio Visual and a few former Zone employees are coming along for the ride.

Loud and Clear owner Neville Hormuz decided to start an audio visual installation business after working at Zone for 14 years. “Contracting was about 25% of Zone’s income and Loud and Clear A/V was going to be technical installation and consulting business” said Hormuz. He started working out of his home office and had a successful month landing a couple of large installation projects and keeping longtime designer/techs Randy Quan and Tim Haggerty busy. “I then needed to get the business out of my garage and into a commercial location” he said. “So I looked into leasing some space in the building Zone was in.”

He ended up moving into a smaller space, about 1/5 the size Zone Music was when it closed, and began painting, installing phone lines, computers and desks. With the door open and people inside, passersby started peeking in, many of them looking to purchase musical instruments and accessories.

“I was talking to Jim, the guy that opened a vinyl shop in another portion of the old Zone compound about opening a music store, and I convinced myself to do it,” laughed Hormuz. “I had the customer base right here, and with a smaller store focusing on commercial installation, and what Zone did best with – guitars and musical instrument accessories – I felt like we could have a good business plan.”   He then added a couple more past Zone employees and opened Loud and Clear Music.

When the news about Zone Music’s closing became public, owner Frank Hayhurst was saying there would be a smaller, reorganized music store opening up in the space. But the plans were not concrete, and Hayhurst was ready to persue other passions. Though he is still much-loved in the Bay Area music world, his days of being involved with owning and running a music store are behind him. “I learned a lot from Frank,” said Hormuz, “I wish him the best with his new ventures”.
Loud and Clear Music has been open for just over four months and it already has over 150 used guitars in stock. But It’s not all used, besides tons of accessories other new gear includes Kala ukuleles, Korg, Vox,  Roland, Boss, Shure, QSC, EV, Alvarez, Samson, Zoom, Presonus, EMG, Gretsch, and Yamaha products.
“While installations continue to grow, my plan for the retail store is to focus on used & consignment items, vintage and unique gear, while keeping it fully stocked with new accessories.”
Loud and Clear opened October 1 with a big party all weekend long sponsored by GHS and EMG. Hormuz said he plans on keeping the store in the public eye continuing community marketing, clinics and performances, and by hosting barbecues and fundraisers. So far there’s been a clinic called “A Musicians Guide to Social Media Marketing,” and two restring benefits for the Humane Society. That jives well with Loud and Clear’s Viceroy, Clifford, a basset-lab mix who oversees day-to-day operations in the store.

The store has been adding more gear every day, thanks in part to its consignment model. The unique, ever-changing inventory keeps musicians coming in, most not leaving empty-handed. Many customers still come in looking for Zone, but all walk away happy in knowing Loud and Clear can handle all their needs.