Thursday, August 6, 2009

Brady Cases!

Abilene case maker makes boxes for Christian bands

Mon Gurung, right, and Kenny Cartwright attach hardware and metal edges to flight cases at Brady Cases in Abilene. The company makes cases to transport a wide range of items including musical instruments, computer components and guns.  [photocredit]Reporter-News Photo s by Ronald W. Erdrich[/photocredit]

Mon Gurung, right, and Kenny Cartwright attach hardware and metal edges to flight cases at Brady Cases in Abilene. The company makes cases to transport a wide range of items including musical instruments, computer components and guns. [photocredit]Reporter-News Photo s by Ronald W. Erdrich[/photocredit]

Reporter-News Photo by Ronald W. Erdrich Brady Bruton started his business in his garage more than two years ago.

Reporter-News Photo by Ronald W. Erdrich Brady Bruton started his business in his garage more than two years ago.

The outline of guitars hang on the wall in Brady Bruton’s shop where he cuts out the shapes for guitars to rest in while being transported. Bruton said he keeps them around because they are fun to look at.

The outline of guitars hang on the wall in Brady Bruton’s shop where he cuts out the shapes for guitars to rest in while being transported. Bruton said he keeps them around because they are fun to look at.

Three years ago, 20-year-old Brady Bruton decided he was no longer going to buy cases for his guitar.

Instead, he would buy the necessary materials and make them himself.

Now 23, Bruton, of Abilene, owns his own case making company, Brady Cases, which caters to popular Christian bands such as RED, Rush of Fools, and NeedtoBreathe.

“I’ve been a musician all my life, touring with different bands here and there,” Bruton said. “Making cases is my way of keeping in the music industry.”

Bruton has always had a habit for thinking outside the box.

In third grade, he got his ear pierced and began spiking his hair. He still has the spiked hair and the piercing, by the way, and occasionally puts an earring in to “freak people out.” He’s a “shy and quirky” inventor, and has been playing music since he was 4 years old.

“It’s always been about the music,” Bruton said. “I graduated from Abilene High and majored in music at Hardin-Simmons University for a year. After my first year, I quit to start Brady Cases.”

Bruton’s background in music is what ultimately brought Brady Cases into existence. He has played in over 20 bands, including Nobody Famous and Beltway Park Baptist Church’s worship team. Somewhere along the road, Bruton simply got tired of buying cases and decided to make his own.

“Brady eats, drinks, and breathes music,” said Brenton Dowdy, a fellow band member and friend. “His experience in the music industry gives him an extreme advantage over his competitors. He is excellent at what he does.”

Brady Cases are made with aluminum bodies, featuring rivets every four inches, double angle extrusions, recessed hardware, a one-inch foam minimum, and high-grade locking casters. Prices range from $250 to $1,800 and can be found on BradyCases.com and ordered from eBay.com under Brady Cases. They can also be purchased at Bruton’s shop at 301 S. 11th St., which is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

“We put a lot of time and effort into making sure our cases are top quality,” said Kenny Cartwright, one of the two employees working with Bruton. “Brady is a good guy to work for. He’s a case-making genius.”

Because Brady Cases are completely customized, customers are able to walk into the store with their dream case in mind and walk out with it.

“Something that makes our company unique is that we offer 3-D animation design to all of our customers before they make their purchase,” Bruton said. “Depending on our workload and the type of case, some people may be able to order their case, see their 3-D animation preview, and pick it up in the same day.”

3-D animation is something Bruton uses to market his company to bands via MySpace.com. Bruton sends messages to bands through MySpace telling them all about his custom orders, attaching pictures of his portfolio and samples of the 3-D animation design. Marketing through MySpace is what hooked bands such as RED and NeedtoBreathe. Other connections come from playing with the bands (Rush of Fools), or having a mutual friend.

Although Bruton has made over 350 cases in his career, the piece he takes most pride in is a keyboard case he made for Rush of Fools.

“This case was built for two keyboards and included two rack units, a sliding drawer on side for a computer, and hookups for internal wiring,” Bruton said. “It usually takes about 15-20 minutes to get keyboards set up, but with this case, you just open it, plug in four cables, and go.”

Rush of Fools is one of the many Christian bands flocking to Brady Cases to fulfill their case needs.

“It’s actually surprising to me that the majority of my business is Christian bands,” Bruton said. “I don’t market that, but about 80 percent of bands that contact me are Christian.”

Although Brady Cases is music-inspired, they are now filling orders for IBM, and will soon begin making medical, military, weaponry and computer cases.

“Brady is constantly thinking of ways to improve and expand his company,” Dowdy said. “I’ve seen cases of his that no one else has on the market. His company works hard, and has been able to keep prices low and competitive. Brady Cases are unique, and I recommend them to everyone.”