I recently found out that this year marks the 60th anniversary of Flores Music! Upon discovering this there was only one thing I could do: Get a cake!
This episode of “Let Them Eat Cake” starts out where they all do: Trefzger’s Bakery. And the cake is made by the resident MBIP cake artist, Kayla! She always does a fantastic job with these custom-made cakes and this one is a marvelous example! She’s layered an edible guitar on top of tie-dye frosting along with the words: “Happy 60th Anniversary Flores Music! Beautiful! Her custom-made cakes are a real piece of tasty and sweet art! In addition to baking and designing custom-made cakes, Kayla is also a musician and a member of the band Thetah. You can listen to their music and buy their album, ‘024’ by clicking right here. After they see this cake at Flores Music that Kayla made for them, I’m guessing she’ll get a lifetime discount at their stores!
Here we are at Flores Music on War Memorial Drive. They also have a store in Pekin which I’ve never been to. I’m going to fix that later on in the post, but for now, let’s go in and wish them a happy 60th anniversary!
Hey, where is everybody? You know what brings people out when you can’t find them? You scream out the following words at the top of your lungs: “Hey! I got cake over here!”
The 60th Anniversary Flores Music Cake Break!
See, it never fails! That’s Victor and Mike Flores (sadly Tony Flores wasn't in the store to share in the celebration) opening up the cake box with a little help from Danny. The cake is revealed and they love it! Thanks once again to Kayla for making and designing such a beautiful cake!
Victor made like a member of The Average White Band and cut the cake and we had a nice 60th anniversary cake break at Flores Music. The cake was delicious and we traded stories about the store, Peoria's musical retail business, the Flores family, underage drinking, marijuana, music, Peoria, Bergan High School, New York and whether or not it’s proper to encourage an elderly neighbor to commit suicide. And yes, that last topic was mine, it’s a long story!
We now interrupt this Flores 60th Anniversary Cake celebration to put in a plug for the band that Danny and Dave play in. They both play guitar in the Joe Stamm band. Here’s the Joe Stamm Band website and of course they have a facecrack page too! Okay, back to the Flores Music 60th Anniversary celebration already in progress...
60th Anniversary T-Shirt!
They’ve made a special Flores Music 60th Anniversary t-shirt to commemorate this anniversary and it’s a really cool design. They’re on sale at both the Peoria and Pekin stores, so stop in before they sell out, there’s a limited amount and these will be Peoria collector’s items when they sell out!
The Peoria Store Tour
I’m not a musician, but I’ve always loved looking at musical instruments, especially guitars and there’s plenty to gaze at in Flores Music. They’ve got about any style of electric and acoustic guitars you could imagine along with drums, pianos, organs, bongos, sheet music and anything associated with playing music. And for every purchase, you get an air guitar for free! No wonder they’ve been in business for 60 years! As I said earlier, I’ve never been to the Pekin Flores Music and all of that changes right now...
The Pekin Store
Here’s the Pekin Store on Caroline Street. This is the original Flores Music store that Jesse Flores, Sr. founded back in 1957! I love the sign with the vintage ‘70’s logo! I went in and Dan was working there and he nicely told me he didn’t want his picture taken but said I was more than welcome to tour the store and take as many photos as I wanted to.
As I looked around, I saw a photo of some old friends of mine, The Elvis Brothers! I know these guys bought plenty of equipment here in Flores Music back in the day! That photo is from their last release, “Now Dig This,” and they are from left: Rob, Brad and Graham. If you’re wondering what they’re up to these days you can check out their facecrack pages: Rob, Brad and Graham. There’s also an Elvis Brothers fan page on facecrack. Below that is another photo with more familiar faces...
It’s Big Hello, which was founded by Brad Elvis! Big Hello’s lead singer and guitarist, Chloe F. Orwell is also a friend of mine and she’s married to Brad! We once gave out fortune cookies on Houston Street in New York City and that's another long story of mine! That band morphed into The Handcuffs (from left: Alison Hinderliter, Chloe F. Orwell, Brad Elvis, Emily Togni and Jeff Kmieciak) who have been featured here on MBIP and you can see more of them at their website and on facecrack. If you’re anywhere near the Chicago area, they’re playing live on Monday, November 27th at Martyrs’ in Chicago! Okay, back to the Pekin tour, already in progress!
Well, it looks like it’s time for a tour of the Pekin Flores Music Store!
The Pekin Flores Music Store Tour
This store is a lot bigger than it looks from the outside and they’ve been selling musical equipment here since Jesse Flores, Sr. opened up this store in 1957. It was originally called, Pekin Academy of Music and Jesse changed it to Flores music in the early ‘60’s and shortly after that he opened up the Peoria store and a legendary musical family business had begun. The second generation has taken over now, but this wouldn’t be a proper anniversary celebration without some photos and a tribute to the founder and original guiding light of the business.
Jesse C. Flores, Sr.
There’s a photo of Jesse hanging in the Peoria store. As the inset photo shows, Jesse had a love for music his entire life.
Jesse proudly served in combat with the U.S. Army in 1952 during the Korean War. Later, he was part of the 371st Army Band, and was honorably discharged in 1954. He received two Bronze Service Stars, one United Nations medal, one National Defense Medal, one Korean Service Medal and one Good Conduct Medal. These are also on display in the Peoria store.
Jesse was a music man his entire life. He passed away this year on March 17. He was 85-years-old and his memory and legacy are alive and well in both of the stores in Peoria and Pekin.
The Flores Family
The Flores family are well-known in Peoria and I feel lucky to have been friends with the family since I first met Linda Flores in Bergan High School in 1972, when we were both crazy kids! I later became friends with the entire family and Becky Flores and I both worked together at Fleming Potter back in the '80's. Here’s some photos of Jesse and the Flores family! Happy 60th anniversary to Flores Music and to the entire Flores family!
Thanks to Beth Flores and Lindsay Waldron for helping me put this together. We’ll see you all tomorrow!
922 E. War Memorial Drive
523 Caroline Street