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Why Small Businesses Matter: Greenwich Suzuki Academy

Why Small Businesses Matter

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Why Small Businesses Matter puts a spotlight on the local merchants who donate their time, talent, goods, and services for the betterment of our community. The shop local movement spreads virally as local businesses who are “tagged” have the opportunity to share their story!

You're IT Greenwich Suzuki Academy!

Four questions with Heather Watson Hardie, founder of Greenwich Suzuki Academy.

Why did you start your business?

I started the Greenwich Suzuki Academy in 2004 partly because I noticed a need for a comprehensive after-school music program in our area, and because I believe deeply in the transformative power of the Suzuki Method for children and families. We are a supportive community of parents, teachers, and students that understand that achieving our highest potential includes pushing ourselves and supporting our peers to reach heights we can't imagine, and that true success entails a life-long journey of seeking out higher learning. Our teachers have extensive teacher training, multiple degrees, and a vested interest in the development of each student. There is nothing more satisfying or thrilling than to see a child work hard and achieve more than they thought was possible, and being able to share that joy with our community. I also believe our parents and students feel deeply loved at GSA, by our teachers, and by each other. In 2004, I had many people tell me that no one in Greenwich would be interested in a Suzuki program where parents would be expected to be involved in the learning process; a sentiment I found perplexing and since found to be completely false. I am honored that my own kids get to grow up surrounded by all the supportive, loving families we have at GSA. The community here has nurtured me as a parent, a teacher, and a person more than I can ever say.

Finish this sentence in regard to your business. "I wish I could…"

I wish I could share Dr. Suzuki's philosophies with everyone because I believe his theories on love, grit, hard work, and recognizing the beauty in others and ourselves is still such a powerful message with so much potential to help the world. The Suzuki Method, while it is the most preeminent and successful children's music education method in the last 50 years, was originally developed in the shadows of WWII as a method to create world peace through the shared language of music. I would very much love for all children to grow up feeling deeply loved, inspired by great challenges, and immensely capable. Our future world would benefit from more kids like this becoming adults.

What is your best-selling product/service?

We have a baby/toddler program called Suzuki Early Childhood Education and it is our fastest growing program, but our most popular program is our full instrumental Suzuki program for students age 3 through 18. Students can choose from violin, viola, cello, flute, or guitar and all the kids attend a weekly private lesson as well as a weekly group class with their peers. We thrive off of our returning students, and our ridiculously high retention rates speak to the quality of our instruction and attention to each family. Our current students average 5+ years already in the program, with many students having attended for over a decade and counting.

How many local businesses do you use to support your business (products and services) and can you name them?

We wouldn't exist if it wasn't for the support and encouragement from Christ Church in Greenwich. When I first came to them with my vision of this program, looking for facilities to realize my dream, they worked with us to create a home. In the past 15 years, they have helped us grow 10 fold, providing us with our own studio spaces, and opened their entire beautiful campus to us for our concerts and classes. It has been a beautiful partnership. We also love having Dogwood Books and Gifts on Campus! They provide amazing drinks and treats, as well as stocking the Suzuki curriculum books for us. They are a great source of gifts and books in general. The Greenwich Moms site has also been a good source for sharing information about our program to the larger Greenwich area. We've also gotten some great promotional material through Chilly Bear in Old Greenwich, including T-shirts and the best ever car magnets!

Greenwich Suzuki Academy is located at 254 E. Putnam Ave in Greenwich. Visit Greenwich Suzuki Academy online here.

HamletHub thanks Fairfield County Bank for making our Why Small Businesses Matter series possible!

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