Columbia Musicians Combine Resources to Build Successful Business

Pictured (l-r): Marty Fort, Jr. and Jay Matheson

Columbia-Two Columbia area musicians have been playing music for years and realized they should partner to expand their businesses. Thomas “Marty” Fort, Jr., owns Columbia Arts Academy, LLC, and Jay Matheson owns the Jam Room Recording Studio. The two musicians decided to partner and form Fort Matheson Holdings.

One of the reasons for partnering was for Fort and Matheson to purchase the building where they both had operated their business for years. Columbia Arts Academy provides music lessons in Columbia and Lexington. Jam Room Recording Studio is a studio and CD duplication for artists.

Matheson Holdings received a 504 loan from First Community Bank under the U.S. Small Business Administration’s lending program in 2015. They realized by combining forces this would give them freedom to deliver services with speed and agility, Fort and Matheson expressed appreciation to the Small Business Development Center and First Community Bank for application assistance. The SBDC provides business technical assistance for small businesses.

“The 504 loan helped us to serve more customers with the purchase of the buildings,” said Matheson. We also have future plans to increase marketing, social media, and print advertising.

“After the purchase of the building, Jam Room Recording Studio added more rooms to increase service capacity.” “The duo has future plans to increase marketing, social media and print advertisement,” stated Matheson.

The duo has an extensive background in the local music scene. Combined the partners have over 40 years of experience in the music industry. In addition Columbia Arts Academy employs over 80 employees and over 1300 students.

When asked about business challenges, the duo agreed that being proactive was important to achieving their accomplishments. They are also very active in the local neighborhood and community.

The most rewarding aspect of owning a business is the freedom to make your own choices and be a leader, stated Fort. “My advice for someone thinking about starting a business is to read, study, get a mentor, and having a supportive family,” stated Fort and Matheson.

Fort holds a bachelor’s degree from North Carolina School of Arts and earned a master’s degree in music from the University of South Carolina. Matheson graduated from University of South Carolina with a Bachelor of Arts in Media.

About the Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) was created in 1953 and since January 13, 2012 has served as a Cabinet-level agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our nation. The SBA helps Americans start, build and grow businesses. Through an extensive network of field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations, the SBA delivers its services to people throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam. To learn more about SBA, visit http://www.sba.gov.