For 20 years, musicians from all over Central Texas have come to the heart of Round Rock to have their instruments repaired by the expert hands of Karen Holrath and Twylia Baker, founders of Better Than New Band Repair.

The gist

Holrath and Baker founded the instrument repair shop in 2004, having met at Strait Music where they both worked as repair technicians. After 15 years of ownership, they sold Better Than New Band Repair to Michelle and Dan Oldroyd, parents of Round Rock ISD band students whose instruments were maintained in the shop.

What's changed

Under new ownership, the shop has expanded into a larger footprint, digitized record keeping for repairs and begun selling refurbished secondhand instruments, Michelle Oldroyd said.

She was first hired on as a bookkeeper in 2008 but grew to learn all aspects of the business before taking over.

"I started just doing their invoicing for them, and then they trained me to do customer support, and then they taught me how to clean brass," she said. "Then they taught me how to do clarinets."

Within the next year, she said she would like to be able to start offering music lessons in the shop as well.

Diving in deeper

While the shop is tucked away into a small business park just off of Chisholm Trail Road, Michelle Oldroyd said her customers come from as far away as San Antonio to have their instruments repaired and maintained.

"There's not very many repair shops in this area or at all," she said. "It's a very specialty, niche business. [In 2019] we were probably working with 75 schools. We've increased that now."

Better Than New Band Repair services instruments for students in many Central Texas school districts as well as local professionals, she said.

Quote of note

"For me, this is more than a job," Michelle Oldroyd said. "It's really a mission to provide this customer service. We—all of my technicians feel the same way—we just want music in the hands of children and music in the hands of people."

Something to note

As Better Than New Band Repair handles repairs for many school district bands in the area, Michelle Oldroyd said it is best for customers who need their instruments repaired or maintained ahead of marching season to act early. She said she recommends dropping off instruments as soon as school lets out for the year, so instruments are ready to go for band camp.