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VOL. 124 | NO. 19 | Thursday, January 29, 2009

Guitar Shop Leaves Cordova For Midtown

By Tom Wilemon

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DISTINCTIVE SIGN: A guitar-shaped sign went up this week at the new location for Martin Music at 1659 Poplar Ave. The music store is next to another business with a distinctive sign, Joe’s Wines & Liquor and its “Sputnik” Roto-Sphere. -- PHOTO BY TOM WILEMON

Martin Music, a retailer that specializes in guitars, is moving to a new location in Midtown from a strip mall in Cordova.

The sign outside the new store at 1659 Poplar Ave. went up Monday. Eric Martin, the owner of the business, said he plans to move within the next few weeks. His decision is contrary to a long-standing trend of businesses and offices moving east from the city’s core.

Martin has operated the business from Cordova for the past 12 years.

“I live in Midtown myself and always have,” he said. “I kind of wanted to have the store close to home. This is an area where we could buy the property and move to (it) instead of renting. And we felt like it would really kind of help the community as well. Midtown needs to have a little more revitalization.”

Martin declined to disclose the scope of his investment, but according to The Daily News Online, www.memphisdailynews.com, he paid $240,000 for the property in December 2007 to Marjorie S. Schrodt and Schrodt Care Homes Inc. A building permit valued at $210,000 was issued last year as well as electrical and mechanical permits, according to The Daily News Online.

Global scale

Although the site is along a busy section of Poplar Avenue, Martin said his business does not depend on walk-in customers.

“The majority of my business is done online,” he said. “I ship guitars all over the world. Location doesn’t matter when you are doing that.”

The new store is almost three times the size of the old one, he said. In addition to selling guitars, Martin Music has a repair service and provides guitar lessons.

The store employs five people. Martin said he did not yet know whether he would be adding employees.

“It really depends on the economy,” he said. “It depends on how the business changes or grows in the new location. I don’t know yet, although we will be doing a lot more teaching. I have a lot more lesson rooms that we’ve built. A lot of teachers in the local area are ready to go on board and to get in there. We will be doing more of that, but those aren’t really employees.”

The store serves intermediate- and professional-level guitarists. It carries Gibson, Fender, Paul Reed Smith and other brands.

“We ship just about every brand that I sell all over the place,” Martin said. “One of the larger brands that I do is Paul Reed Smith guitars. I was the second-largest dealer in the world for them.”

PROPERTY SALES 81 201 16,108
MORTGAGES 40 104 10,026
BUILDING PERMITS 130 336 38,272
BANKRUPTCIES 28 56 7,528