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Introduction

A company, abbreviated as co., is a legal entity made up of an association of people, be they natural, legal, or a mixture of both, for carrying on a commercial or industrial enterprise. Company members share a common purpose, and unite to focus their various talents and organize their collectively available skills or resources to achieve specific, declared goals. Companies take various forms, such as:

A company or association of persons can be created at law as a legal person so that the company in itself can accept limited liability for civil responsibility and taxation incurred as members perform (or fail to discharge) their duty within the publicly declared "birth certificate" or published policy.

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The exterior of Elderly Instruments
Elderly Instruments is a musical instrument retailer in Lansing, Michigan, United States, with a reputation as a "megastore", a repair shop and a locus for folk music including bluegrass and "twang". Specializing in fretted instruments, including acoustic and electric guitars, banjos, mandolins, and ukuleles, Elderly maintains a selection of odd or rare instruments. Elderly is known as the premier repair shop for fretted instruments, as one of the larger vintage instrument dealers in the United States, and as a major dealer of Martin guitars in particular.

Industry publications, music retail trade, and bluegrass music journals have featured articles about the Elderly repair staff. The company also provides consignment services for rare and vintage instruments. Since its foundation in 1972, Elderly has undergone two major expansions: into mail order in 1975 and then into Internet sales in the 1990s. In 2005 it was the subject of a lawsuit by Gibson Guitar Corporation concerning trademark infringement. Today it is recognized internationally for its services and products; its mail order and Internet business account for 65–70 percent of its total revenue. Elderly grossed $12 million in 1999 and by 2007 was grossing $17 million annually.

In addition to retail and repair services, Elderly Instruments is noted as a center of local music culture for bluegrass and "twang" music. Elderly Instruments operates a wholesale record distribution business, Sidestreet Distributing, in the lower level of its complex, servicing more than 300 small retail businesses.

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30 St Mary Axe - The Gherkin from Leadenhall St - Nov 2006.jpg
Credit: David Iliff
30 St Mary Axe, London, widely known by the nickname "The Gherkin", and occasionally as a variant on The Swiss Re Tower, after its previous owner and principal occupier. Swiss Re is the world’s largest reinsurance company, founded in 1863, the firm now operates in more than 30 countries and is headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland.

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