A merging of two Iowa music stores will result in additional product availability for local musicians.

In January, Kephart's Music Center and West Music Company will merge, offering expanded products and additional services.

"We've been friendly competitors over the years, but we've always had great respect for each other and share the same business philosophy. We believe that our primary goal to serve our customers in strong support of music education can be better achieved now with the combined resources of both companies," said Lynne Kephart.

According to company Secretary Ann Kephart, Kephart's will maintain its name and operations should be "business as usual."

Robin Walenta, president/CEO of West Music Company, added, "We're excited about the opportunity to partner with the Kephart family to have the opportunity to serve customers with the same philosophy of bringing quality products and services to the Upper Midwest."

Kephart's has stores in Decorah and Dubuque and calls on schools in Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois. West Music Company has stores in Cedar Falls, Coralville, Marion, Ottumwa, Urbandale and Moline, Ill.