Mass Street Music Stories: John Flynn’s first day

This year, in celebration of 30 years at the corner of 14th & Mass St. in Lawrence, we’re sharing stories from Mass Street Music’s past. If you have a Mass Street Music story to share about your first instrument from us, your latest, a cool repair our shop did or just an interesting day you were here, please email

Boss John Flynn joined forces with Jim Baggett back in 1987, but was not ever actually hired. Here, John tells the story of his first day on the job at Mass Street Music, and how it came about:

I came into the store to look around and see what was going on. I had dropped off a resume about a year before, when I had first moved to Lawrence. I came in and Jim was there. He just asked me, “You know anyone looking for a job in a music store?”

“Yeah,” I said, “I am.”

“That’s what I figured,” he replied. He asked me to come back in a couple of days to talk over details. Great! So I showed up a few days later and he wasn’t around. I think that happened at least twice. About the third time I stopped by, he was there and asked me if I was still looking for a job. He said he wanted to think about it, and that I should come in on the following Monday and we’d talk more.

I came back that Monday  – I remember it was a really nice March day and the door was open – but Jim wasn’t there. Susan (Willits, now our bookkeeper) was there dusting guitars by herself. I told her, “I think I’m supposed to start working today, but I’m not positive.” Just a few minutes later, a customer walked in and asked if I could help them, so I did and that was that. Jim showed up a few hours later and we set up a schedule, but he never said ‘you’re hired’ or ‘you got the job’ – it was just taken for granted.

John and Jami Flynn circa 1987

Boss Flynn & his beautiful wife, Jami, circa 1987, about the time he started working at Mass Street Music. Channeling Bowie in Labyrinth/Sting/Zoolander’s Blue Steel maybe?

About two weeks later, I heard a rumor that Jim told someone he thought I was doing a good job, but that he’d had some complaints from a few customers about my ‘purple hair’ – which was actually dyed blonde. Back then he would play records and drink really, really strong Yuban coffee. He hasn’t been able to get rid of me since.  – John Flynn

When we asked Jim about John’s first day he said, “Was I there?”

Do you have a Mass Street Music story to tell? Let us know – email Anne at

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