New Glenwood Music owner amps up
July 27, 2010
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – For 15 years, former Glenwood Music owner Larry Gruber worked hard to establish one of the most respected little music stores on the Western Slope.
During those same 15 years, Joe Rodgers was building a successful music and audio equipment repair business in the hustle and bustle of the D.C./Baltimore area.
“I was really done with the whole East Coast scene, and wanted to move to Colorado,” said Rodgers, who would often visit the Rocky Mountains to get away from it all. More recently, he had been looking into options to open a new business in Colorado.
“There was already a lot of competition in Denver for what I do, so I started looking west along I-70,” he said.
What he discovered was that there wasn’t an authorized repair service for the major manufacturers such as Fender, Marshall and Yamaha anywhere on the Western Slope. So, he had his niche; the only question was where to start up his new business.
Rodgers had gotten to know Gruber on one of his visits to Glenwood Springs, and would drop in whenever he was in town.
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“He told me last fall he was planning to sell the store,” Rodgers recalled. Instead of starting a service business from scratch, he decided it made perfect sense to merge his trade with an established retail business. So, he jumped at the opportunity.
Since May 1, Rodgers has been the new owner at Glenwood Music, located at 715 Cooper Ave. Gruber has since relocated to the Front Range to be closer to family, and now has a new music store in downtown Longmont.
“I’ve been getting a lot of appreciation from local musicians and sound production folks,” Rodgers said of adding the service business to the retail store at Glenwood Music. “Before, there was no one locally to support musicians. … It was either take their equipment to Denver for servicing, or ship it.”
Glenwood Music has since become the authorized technical service center for most of the major manufacturers, working with schools and churches to service their musical equipment, and serving as a referral for other music stores in the region.
“The other thing that was attractive was that there is already a school of music here,” Rodgers said of Gruber’s arrangement with music teachers in the area to teach lessons out of Glenwood Music. The various teachers bring in some 70 to 80 students during the peak season, and not only help pay the rent but bring with them a clientele for the retail store.
“That works as a third revenue stream, which is really important,” he said. A fourth revenue stream is also in the works, as he plans to offer equipment and instrument rentals in the near future.
While Rodgers handles the technician business, he hired Kevin Ware as his retail manager. Ware is originally from Gypsum and now lives in New Castle with his young family. Gruber also agreed to stay on for a while to train Ware, so Rodgers could concentrate on setting up the service shop.
In addition to service and repair of high-tech, modern equipment, Rodgers said he also enjoys restoring vintage 1950s and ’60s tube amplifiers.
“There are very few people who do that,” he said. “It’s a different tone that you just can’t get out of the modern sound equipment.”
Rodgers, 55, is a classically trained pianist and keyboard player by his own right, and said he enjoys getting involved in the community.
“I love interfacing with the community, and this is a perfect way to do it,” he said.
Rodgers recently donated a guitar as the grand prize in the first-ever Carbondale Mountain Fair Singer/Songwriter Competition. Glenwood Music is also a Gold Level sponsor of the upcoming MarbleFest music festival in August.