• Tales from the Pandemic: New Location and Owner for Fiddler's Green Music Shop

    Fiddler's Green Music Shop

    In the midst of 2020's pandemic the story of one music store stuck out with plenty of sadness, but also one of hope and a positive message. It was a story needing told.

    Fiddler's Green Music shop, formerly of Austin was recently purchased by long-time employee Ben Hodges. Ben and his family toiled hard over the years to find a way to fulfill their dream of owning the store. From this point forward, the story is best told in his own words.

    We wish Ben well going forward and hope you'll enjoy photos of the new store in Lockhart that follow!

    Ben Hodges

    "On February 25 after working at Fiddler's Green for over 12 years, I purchased the business from Clay Levit who remains one of my best friends. Together we figured out terms for me to buy the place. It was a very long and stressful path of seeming like one day it would happen and the next it wouldn't, but we finally got it done.

    "Then the pandemic came.

    "Three weeks later the shop closed, except for curbside and mail order. Unfortunately, in order to qualify for the CARES act/PPP loans I would have had to have owned the business prior to February 15, missing the deadline by 10 days. I did everything I could to try and appeal to no avail. It seemed, and still does, unfair that I purchased an existing LLC with absolutely no changes other than ownership and didn't qualify. As a result, all store employees had to be laid off at no fault of their own. It broke my heart. Those employees were dear friends, and we had such high hopes for the future together, and so much pride in our little shop.

    "Now it's just me. The shop has moved to Lockhart, a town with a vibrant art community and world class Texas BBQ, where my family lives and rent is far more affordable. It's about 30 minutes south of Austin with easier access to San Antonio and Houston, from which we get a lot of walk-in customers. Fiddler's Green has always been more of a destination type of place anyway, and I'm not sure the premium of having a central location in Austin was ever worth it.

    "It will be just me at first, but hopefully as normal life resumes I hope to add another employee or two. This shop is much more to me than a means to make a living. It's been a central hub for a community of music and art friends to gather and hang out in. It's a place that invites newbies in with the same, if not more, enthusiasm than the local big shots. It's a place where those newbies become lifelong friends with big shots. I met my wife here. I met most of my friends here. I've learned so much here and continue to do so every day. I've spent over a quarter of my life here. I love this place dearly."

    Store Hours:

    Fiddler's Green Music Shop in Lockhart, Texas is now open 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday

    The Store

    All photos except the last one in the article by Vanessa Lain Photography.

    Fiddler's Green Music Shop Information

    Comments 19 Comments
    1. AlanN's Avatar
      AlanN -
      Uplifting story in times where an uplift is greatly appreciated.

      Late last year, I purchased a mandolin from Fiddler's Green, my contact resource was Ben. He was pleasant, efficient and committed to my satisfaction in every way. I wish him good luck.
    1. Rush Burkhardt's Avatar
      Rush Burkhardt -
      Thanks for telling your story, Ben! This pandemic has dealt blows - some unrecoverable; some tests! Sounds to me like you're handling your test, and my bet would be, you'll pass!

      Rush Burkhardt
      Towson, MD
    1. manjitsu's Avatar
      manjitsu -
      Lucky me! My family and I moved from central Austin to Lockhart about eight years ago and love it. A hearty welcome to Fiddlers Green and congratulations to Ben Hodges ... you’ll be a great addition to what is quickly becoming a wonderful downtown scene!

    1. Bob Clark's Avatar
      Bob Clark -
      Wow, what a beautiful shop. It is pure magic when someone's dream can be fulfilled in this way. That is especially true when it is a long-trim dream toward which one has been working for decades. I wish you every success and the joy that comes from achieving something for which you have shown such dedication.

      Best wishes, Bob
    1. aircooled's Avatar
      aircooled -
      Great success story, Ben! You are a winner in life, and always will be. Buying and selling instruments thru FG has always been a breeze, and it's my go-to spot to try lotsa first-class instruments, especially mandolins. Well-designed website, too.

      Good Luck, Ben.
    1. Bertram Henze's Avatar
      Bertram Henze -
      The shop looks like once you entered it, it would be hard to leave without an instrument. I hope more people feel that way!
    1. Mark Seale's Avatar
      Mark Seale -
      Congrats Ben and best of luck in Lockhart. I can't wait to visit the new space!
    1. twilson's Avatar
      twilson -
      Way to go Ben. See you soon.
    1. RobP's Avatar
      RobP -
      Wow..that is a nice-looking and inviting shop, and with a huge inventory! I am far from Texas, but I wish you the best.

    1. Stop's Avatar
      Stop -
      Sweet story and congrats. Way to go Ben. Best of luck on your 'new' shop in Lockhart You've been to great work with on our deals the past several years. New customers will be in for a nice surprise. Couldn't be happier for you.
    1. Dave Martin's Avatar
      Dave Martin -
      Definitely will class up Lockhart, at least as I remember it 45 years ago. Good luck!
    1. Northwest Steve's Avatar
      Northwest Steve -
      Awesome. I love small business stories. Rocky start but hopefully things will get better as we get past these interesting times.
    1. Michael Eck's Avatar
      Michael Eck -
      Best of luck, Ben! When I lived in Austin in the early 90s, Lockhart was a frequent getaway designation for me. Worked on a David Halley video in that sweet little town, too. Love the Tim Kerr art on the walls. Wishing you nothing but success.
    1. ccravens's Avatar
      ccravens -
      Congratulations and good luck, Ben!!
    1. FredK's Avatar
      FredK -
      Ben, I'm looking forward to making a day trip (or 2) to Lockhart just to visit your place and try out those mandolins I've been eyeballing online. Very nice setup. Congratulations!
    1. Paco Jazztorius's Avatar
      Paco Jazztorius -
      I just bought a mandocello mailorder from FG and Ben. Easy transaction, arrived in perfect condition, couldn't be happier with the sales experience. I'll be back. Best of luck, Ben!
    1. morganpiper's Avatar
      morganpiper -
      I can’t wait to see the new place!! Ben is super knowledgeable and personable, and an excellent musician! Best of luck, see y’all soon!!
    1. Mandolin Cafe's Avatar
      Mandolin Cafe -
      Published one year ago today.
    1. Mandolin Cafe's Avatar
      Mandolin Cafe -
      Noting the anniversary of this feature article.