Ask any entrepreneur about the challenges of starting a new business and most will tell you that the first year is always the hardest.
For Paul Maxwell, owner of Maxwell’s Music House, the first year of business may have had its challenges, but certainly was a lot of fun along the way.
Maxwell, who graduated from WLU’s business program just two years ago, celebrated the one-year anniversary of Maxwell’s Music House last month and is this year’s recipient of the Young Entrepreneur of the Year award from the Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber of Commerce.
“That one was really surprising,” says Maxwell of the award. “I was one of the youngest nominees, so it was really nice that I was able to be recognized.”
And coming up on 200 shows in just a year, it’s no wonder that he was. Maxwell’s Music House is a unique fusion – it’s a venue for musical performance and a place for musicians of all ages to learn to play music.
With a capacity of 80 people, it’s a cozy and intimate atmosphere to hang out and listen to music in, but the venue also offers music lessons and rentable jam spaces for bands.
“I’m a musician. Everyone else who works here is a musician, and we know what it’s like to be in a band and go on tour and have bad experiences and good experiences,” said Maxwell, explaining that the experiences of his employees are instrumental in providing those who come to Maxwell’s with good experiences.
“We teach it in a fun and relaxed atmosphere, but we still encourage and push key concepts. You’re still going to get a lot of value in the lessons.”
While many clubs and venues target particular demographics, Maxwell’s is a venue unified by its patrons’ love and appreciation of music.
“Music is a market for everyone,” explained Maxwell.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re eight years old or 58 years old, people still love the same music. We want people to know that there’s a space for them, that we support everything music and everything art.”
Looking back on a busy and successful year, Maxwell says, “I didn’t receive an inheritance and I didn’t win the lottery.
“It came through grassroots work and building, and I think that I can help young entrepreneurs realize that there are possibilities in starting with nothing. You can start anything if you just work for it.”
And where does Maxwell see his music house a year from now?
“Hopefully with every concert sold-out. And a line-up,” he stated.