Flores Music moves to make way for Peoria Heights gas station purchase

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For 45 years, Flores Music operated at its location on War Memorial Drive – a location chosen by founder Jesse Flores and purchased from a barber shop.

Now Flores’ three sons who operate the business are moving to a new location at 3831 N. Sheridan Road after selling the property last year to a real estate developer.

Customers helped move to a new location

Tony, left, and Victor Flores show off some of the products they sell at Flores Music's new location at 3831 N. Sheridan Road in Peoria.  The business was started 45 years ago by their father Jesse at a location on War Memorial that the brothers recently sold to Beck's Oil.

Collecting 45 years of memories has been a lot of work for the Flores brothers.

Victor and Tony Flores said it involved packing and moving 150 guitars, pianos, drum sets, amplifiers and other large musical equipment, but “it wasn’t as bad as we thought” given that it there were 45 years of stuff in the building.

“We miss the old place, that’s where our dad started it,” said Tony Flores. “…It was a lot of good history there. A lot of good musicians come and go until they see them when they’re younger and then hear them die, that’s part of the business that’s sad. But The good news is that there are a lot of great musicians here.”

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They said many customers helped with the move, including one who gave them a 28ft trailer, which took some of the burden of the move away from them.

There’s still work to be done at the new location, they said, like drywall, painting and repairs to the drop ceilings, but otherwise the Flores brothers are happy with their new building.

Flores Music moved from its longtime location on War Memorial Drive to a new facility at 3831 N. Sheridan Road in Peoria.

“Like a big family”

They found the building on Sheridan having lunch one day, Victor Flores said. He saw a sign in the window that said “For Rent” and after meeting the owners, Flores Music had their new home.

“It was a learning experience because Victor and I did this pretty much alone, but with the help of many customers and we thank them very much for all their help,” said Tony Flores.

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Ultimately, the move is just one more chapter in the history of the family business that their father, who worked at Caterpillar and attended Bradley University, started in the community.

Tony Flores said that regardless of location, it’s the people who work at Flores Music “like one big family” that keep the business going.

“The basic premise of the thing is interaction with customers, teachers and students, it’s just a lot of fun,” Victor said. “I can see it on their faces when they walk into the store.”

A bass guitar room opens to an acoustic guitar room at the new Flores Music on Sheridan Road in Peoria.

The legacy of being in the right place at the right time

Victor Flores still remembers driving through Peoria in his father’s car looking for real estate when they stopped at a barbershop on War Memorial Drive. On this day in the late 1970s, Jesse Flores asked the landlord if he was looking to sell his building.

“How did you know?” replied the owner of the barbershop. “I just registered the place today.”

Being in the right place at the right time Jesse Flores didn’t know the place had been listed, it turns out he was in the right place at the right time.

Flores Music will expand three times at its War Memorial Drive location. As part of the first expansion, Jesse Flores swapped a rental property he owned elsewhere in town for a house next to his new store. They would go on to expand the store two more times, putting time, money, and effort into building their store.

Although they were happy with their new place, it was crazy for Victor and Tony Flores to think that the place they spent 45 years building was “in the space of six months, everything was gone”.

Why they sold to Beck’s Oil

When Beck’s Oil CEO Bill Smith approached the brothers in early 2021 to buy their property, the price was right and too good to pass up, they said.

Victor and Tony Flores had previously approached other businesses, including a car wash, to buy their land, but until Smith approached them, the price never justified moving to another location.

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The brothers said the deal between Beck’s and Flores was initiated by Peoria Heights Village Administrator Dustin Sutton, who called Victor Flores and asked if it would be okay to introduce him to an interested buyer, Smith.

It took three or four meetings to agree on the sale price of $1.2 million.

“We decided to sell at that point, not really knowing if it was going to work out or not, because it depended on him (Smith) acquiring four more properties,” said Victor Flores.

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