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Music company sues two school districts over access to band students

By John Hogan/WZZM-TV • Aug 8, 2017 at 11:00 AM

GRAND RAPIDS — A West Michigan music store is suing two school districts after being nudged out of upcoming meetings for band students and their parents.

It's at these late summer meetings that parents often decide to lease or buy a musical instrument, according to the lawsuits filed by West Michigan Band Instruments LLC.

The lawsuits contend Meyer Music has been singled out to be the selected vendor at upcoming school band meetings in Coopersville and Grandville.

West Michigan Band Instruments says it simply wants the same opportunity afforded to Meyer Music to make a pitch to band students and their parents.

The federal lawsuits, filed Friday, are targeting “exclusive vendor policies’’ that favor Meyer Music. West Michigan Band Instruments filed a similar lawsuit last year against Spring Lake Public Schools.

“Having exclusive access to an annual meeting of band students and their parents gives an instrument vendor a substantial advantage over its competitors with respect to sales and rental opportunities within that school district,’’ the attorney for West Michigan Band Instruments wrote in the complaints.

The suits ask a federal judge to declare the exclusive vendor policy unconstitutional.

West Michigan Band Instruments opened in 2010 and operates at 3601 Plainfield Ave. NE in Grand Rapids.

Meyer Music touts itself as West Michigan’s largest school music organization, specializing in band and orchestra instruments and supplies. It has stores in Grand Rapids, Holland, Muskegon and Kalamazoo.

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