I guess it all started when I purchased a guitar lesson website from Flippia called Easy Guitar Central. After going through the site and seeing how it worked I decided to build my own website.I told a friend of mine (Steve) my idea and he said he would like to give it a shot also. Steve had some experience in maintaining a website and I had work a little with wordpress.We decided on names for our sites, I came up with Noiseyfly and Steve came up with FingerSwagger. We figured we would stay with the guitar niche and use our sites as guitar blogs to funnel visitors to Easy Guitar Central. Building websites is not easy but through research,trial and error,and lots of content we had a couple of good websites.
Now we had to figure out how to make money with them and get traffic. Using Amazon seemed like a good idea it was already set up on Easy Guitar Central we just had to sign up. After a month of no revenue we decided to try google adsense but that was only producing pennies a day. We had to come up with another idea soon or it would be back to work for “the man”. Steve helped run a couple of companies in the past so he suggested opening a guitar store. I had never been an owner of a company so I said “what the hell” let’s go for it.
The next day Steve started searching for a good location to rent that was fairly inexpensive since neither one of us had much money. We looked at four locations and decided on one located in the Spokane Valley. It needed some work but it was in a good location and the price was right. The next thing to do was to get some display cases so to Craigs list we went and found three for just $150 in Sand Point Idaho. They were in ok shape we found out they had been in the Alpine shop at Schweitzer for years.
Next was to get insurance, phone lines and internet. We ran into a few issues along the way, one got us a sound proof wall thanks to the building owner because of the possible noise from the musical instruments we were going to have. Then an electrical inspector paid us a surprise visit and noted a bunch of violations. Again another set back which payed off as the building owner had to hire an electrician and fix all the problems which would have bit us in the butt later down the road.
The Building Phase
Now we had to turn an empty space into a store. Steve’s son came up from Texas to help with the construction. He built us a couple of half walls to serve as to offices and a repair area. We then painted the floor and walls, installed trim, put up peg board to hang supplies and moved everything into position. Next we purchased a couple of computers and monitors along with a cash drawer to act as our cash registers and set them up with quickbooks.
Stocking the store
Next was to stock the store with all the guitar gear we could afford, so accounts were set up, product ordered, and all the guitars and gear we owned brought in. Guitar hangers screwed to the walls, product hangers put on the peg board, and everything put into place. Now it was starting to look like a store.
Now that we had everything in place we needed customers so letting people know we we were there through advertising was the next step. We accomplished this by placing pictures and videos of our store and merchandise on Craig’s list. Forking out some doe to Yellowbook for local listings and page one listings on some of the top search engines. A large sign was installed above the store with lighting which took two tries to get the right size. We had words put up on the windows telling of the products and services we had to offer. And finally buisness cards made with the current address and phone number.
So here we are
So here we are two guys that love guitars and music trying to scratch out a living doing something we like. The support from the local community has been great and I know many challenges await around every corner but hopefully with hard work and long hours our dream will become reality.
Drop by the store if you have the chance it is located at 10627 E. Sprague ave. in the great city of Spokane Valley Washington (behind Freds Appliance). We offer consignments, lessons, of course guitars, repairs, stringings, pro setups and most everything else related to guitars and music. I will post updates of how things are going as time will allow thanks from Craig (Craig has since passed away and Barb has stepped in to help out in the shop now) and Steve long live FingerSwagger.