A brand that was bought from a Britisher has now become India’s biggest retailer of musical instruments. Bigwigs of the music world swear by the quality of Furtados’ instruments.
The Gothic-styled Jer Mahal, a cluster of seven buildings, located in Mumbai’s Dhobi Talao area is more than 100 years old. LM Furtado & Co, a 150-year-old music instrument business, is located on the ground floor of the building. Furtados’ eye-catching brilliant red banner stands out in an otherwise decaying antique building. When you enter it, you will discover a whole new world filled with bright lights, acoustic guitars, royal pianos, gleaming drum sets, pitch pipes, violins, tablas, and more, some of which are limited editions, such as the Steinway & Sons piano.
It all started in 1953, when John Gomes, who was 25-year-old then, acquired the brand from a Britisher named Bernard Xavier Furtado. It was not in line with the newly independent India’s nationalism fervour because it sold sheet music and Western classical instruments. What made things more difficult were the hefty tariffs imposed on imports until the Indian market opened up in 1991.
Inadequate funds, rigorous laws, expanding competitors, and a collapsing economy, however, did not deter John from constantly developing and scaling up the business.
Anthony Gomes, son of John and Director at Furtados Group of Companies, claims that the music industry was disorganised when his father began his career.
According to Anthony, sellers and competitors were conducting bill-free transactions without charging sales taxes. Furtados, on the other hand, stood out from the start. Every single sale has been and continues to be transparently invoiced and accounted for. This resulted in high costs due to taxes, and Furtados lost consumers as a result. The company’s principles aided in the establishment of a brand that is linked with security, credibility, and excellence.
At the end of the conversation, Anthony summed up the journey of Furtados.
Antony said, in their 2007 poll, the three principles most identified with the company among Furtados’ customer base and customers were quality, dependability, and trust.
According to him, developing business ties through trustworthy and rigorous business practices has been Furtados’ hallmark and mainstay.
Few people are aware that Furtados was formerly a small department store with several additional departments including luggage, toys, LP recordings, sporting goods, and Christian religious items. It even had a profitable printing operation, ranking second only to the Times of India in terms of volume.
Furtados has now become India’s biggest retailer of musical instruments. It has 17 showrooms in the country, ranging from Chandigarh to Panjim, Ahmedabad to Bengaluru, as well as over 350 dealer locations.
The iconic brand now has music industry heavyweights swearing by the quality of its instruments, and even non-musicians are aware of their legacy.