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Thread: How to Open a Vintage Guitar Store in Seven Easy Steps

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    Administrator Mandolin Cafe's Avatar
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    Default How to Open a Vintage Guitar Store in Seven Easy Steps

    This is a wonderful read, by Walter Carter: How to Open a Vintage Guitar Store in Seven Easy Steps

    How to Open a Vintage Guitar Store in Seven Easy Steps, by Walter Carter

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    Default Re: How to Open a Vintage Guitar Store in Seven Easy Steps

    That's excellent. Anyone that ever opened a business is sweating along with the Walter while reading it, I know I was. I haven't been to Carter's yet but they are on my list.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Default Re: How to Open a Vintage Guitar Store in Seven Easy Steps

    Great story! Walter is a natural writer and an astute observer of the music business. It’s a gripping account even though at the end it is easy to see how Walter and Christie succeeded—they did what they set out to do, buying wisely and treating people right.

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    Registered User j. condino's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to Open a Vintage Guitar Store in Seven Easy Steps

    I was always told the secret to making a million dollars with a vintage guitar shop is to start out with 2 million worth of inventory. Many folks with a good size collection think they can use that as the seed for a startup shop. The challenge is not selling what you have. Once the initial collection is all sold off, finding and keeping a large inventory of additional continuous great equipment takes a whole different set of skills.

    The huge aspect to their business success is Walter & Christie: unlike the other big name place down the street where they treat you like %$#@ and most of the time act too cool to even look you in the eye or take your money if you are not a well known country or aging rock star and run a private freak show, Walter is a great incredibly down to earth guy who walks the sales floor and laughs and small talks with people to the point that you don't even realize he owns the place. He'll tell a few jokes and shake your hand and casually say, "Hi. I'm Walter; nice to meet you." Even if you are just kicking tires he treats you with respect and encourages you to play anything you want- Multiple Loars, '59 Les Pauls, '37 Martins- you name it. The private close off amp rooms where you can rock out incredibly loud but not feel intimidated by the rest of the people in the shop are an A+ feature.

    I think it is a pretty easy to suggest that he has the best shop in the nation right now which probably means the best shop in the world. Anybody who has not made a pilgrimage to Nashville in the last few years should really take a little instrument nerd vacation; you won't be disappointed. I was just over that way this morning....

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    Registered User mtucker's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to Open a Vintage Guitar Store in Seven Easy Steps

    Two of the very best people on the planet.

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    Default Re: How to Open a Vintage Guitar Store in Seven Easy Steps

    This was a good read. I appreciate him sharing the struggles they went through as well as their successes. We planned on visiting Carters last year but the trip didn't materialize. Life happens. Looking forward to walking in those doors soon, though.
    "If your memories exceed your dreams, you have begun to die." - Anonymous

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    Default Re: How to Open a Vintage Guitar Store in Seven Easy Steps

    Covid cancelled my Nashville trip for April, but we'll try again. I've been to another store there, years ago, and received the unfriendly treatment, not nasty, just unwelcoming. My buddies have been to Carters, they loved it and didn't even bring me a tee shirt. Looking forward to having my own.

    Great story, as anybody who has started a business will attest. You'll never work harder.
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    Plays Well With Others Nate Lee's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to Open a Vintage Guitar Store in Seven Easy Steps

    This was a fascinating read!
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    Registered User John Soper's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to Open a Vintage Guitar Store in Seven Easy Steps

    This was a fun read! Carters has been on my need to visit list for quite a while - thought I was going this spring, but not to be - covid Very nice people to deal with on the phone. Love surfing their site for Mando & guitar porn.

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    Default Re: How to Open a Vintage Guitar Store in Seven Easy Steps

    Wow, that was a really fun, entertaining, and educational read (very well-written, too!). Thanks for posting.
    ...

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    Default Re: How to Open a Vintage Guitar Store in Seven Easy Steps

    In 2002, when I first logged onto Mandolin Cafe, I had just started my little business designing and building underwater cameras for the nuclear power industry. I started playing mandolin to help me through the stress of running a new business while trying to raise a family with no income.
    We are just about ready to celebrate our 18th year in business. After the third year we started to show positive cash flow. My children are now through college (all paid for), married, and my house is paid for. Faith, hope, a loving family, a lot of work, and a mandolin will get one through rough times.
    We now mostly do the underwater robots that carry the cameras and other instruments underwater for a number of different applications, with almost no nuclear work any more. I still play mandolin, though.
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    Default Re: How to Open a Vintage Guitar Store in Seven Easy Steps

    Nashville is always my favorite place to visit, but it has been five years since I was there. I was unable to get to Carter's at that time while they were open. I have always loved shopping for instruments in that town and have bought two guitars there. With so many musicians in that town, there are lots of great instruments available.

    Next time I will make sure I get by Carter's.
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    not a donut Kevin Winn's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to Open a Vintage Guitar Store in Seven Easy Steps

    Great read! Thanks for posting the link!
    "Keep your hat on, we may end up miles from here..." - Kurt Vonnegut

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    Default Re: How to Open a Vintage Guitar Store in Seven Easy Steps

    Now I have a reason to go to Nashville for a weekend!
    What a nice read! Well written, clear and concise.
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    Default Re: How to Open a Vintage Guitar Store in Seven Easy Steps

    Very inspiring read - I'm about to embark on a new venture, starting an organic farm/farm animal sanctuary back in Ireland. It's nerve-wracking taking this leap into the unknown and the pandemic certainly hasn't helped matters! Reading Walter and Christie's start up story was just what I needed today!
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    Default Re: How to Open a Vintage Guitar Store in Seven Easy Steps

    About 20 years ago I had the opportunity to take over an established local music store. The owners said I could even keep the name, if I wanted. Well, after many sleepless nights of trying to crunch the numbers and make them work, I decided to pass. Basically, at the time, many local stores were feeling the effect of eBay and other online sales as competition and were closing. I should add that I was selling on eBay myself and doing pretty well with no overhead at all, so there was that.

    OTOH, my goal was not to have the greatest vintage guitar store in the world, but merely to run a successful music store and make a nice middle-class income. I felt it was too much of a gamble, at least for me. I also wanted to do it without going into debt, because of my age (even at that time!)

    I applaud the Carters for thinking big and knowing all the right steps to accomplish something that is world-class. Best of luck to them. It is a great store and a wonderful shopping experience!
    Last edited by Jeff Mando; Jun-23-2020 at 9:00am.

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    Default Re: How to Open a Vintage Guitar Store in Seven Easy Steps

    I live about forty miles west of Nashville. I remember my first trip to Carter's, not knowing what to expect. After I walked through the checkout lobby, where you can buy cool non instument items, I see Walter sitting at his desk working on his computer. I introduced myself as a friend of an established customer and he treated me as if I were a long lost friend. He gave me a tour and answered all my questions. Lastly, he took me to the high end room and said this was where I would be most comfortable. He nicely asked that I be careful and told me to make myself at home. He told me to come to him with any question. Unlike most businesses, I felt instantly at home. That feeling has never changed. Walter and Christie have always treated me warmly. I have bought, sold, consigned and traded with them and never with regret (except for my own stupidity). While there are other dealers that I do business with, mostly specialty items, Carter's is my go to shop.
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    Default Re: How to Open a Vintage Guitar Store in Seven Easy Steps

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    That's excellent. Anyone that ever opened a business is sweating along with the Walter while reading it, I know I was. I haven't been to Carter's yet but they are on my list.
    Went to Carter's in June of 2016. A real pleasure. I'd go back again. I'd love to go back to the Ryman again also. Didn't make it to Gruhn's and I don't know why? My wife still has the shirt she bought there and I still have the monogrammed V-Pick I bought with "Bill" on it. Played plenty of mandolins but didn't buy anything there. Saw Del and Dawg for one set and then Del and Dawg with an All-Star walk-on cast for the 2nd set. Do not think I'll ever forget Ronnie McCoury, Jesse McReynold's and David Grisman all playing mandolin on the same stage, at the same time. It was a great trip thru West Virginia and Kentucky on the way down. We spent two overnights in Kentucky, three in Nashville and one in Virginia on the way home. We did a circuitous route. Very memorable. Carter's and the Ryman were the highlight for me.
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    Fatally Flawed Bill Kammerzell's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to Open a Vintage Guitar Store in Seven Easy Steps

    I loved his mandolin history book. I played the only F-4 and Duff I've ever played at Carter's.
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    Default Re: How to Open a Vintage Guitar Store in Seven Easy Steps

    Jack Robert....

    Congratulations on your success. Nothing works as well as perseverance.
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