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Hillsboro shop celebrated as guitar mecca

If you want to buy a new guitar, Hillsboro is the place to go. In fact, Hillsboro’s Five Star Guitars is regarded as one of the best 100 places on the planet to go to.

The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) has named the business one of the Top 100 “musical instrument and product retailers in the world.” by: HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTO: DOUG BURKHARDT - Geoff Metts of Five Star Guitars is celebrating not only being named one of the worlds Top 100 music stores, but also the recent opening of a new store downtown at 270 E. Main St.

Five Star Guitars is also under consideration to be named NAMM’s “dealer of the year,” the Carlsbad, Calif., association’s highest honor for retailers.

“Since we took over the shop two years ago, we’ve been working really hard to establish ourselves, so to get this nod from our industry is really a big deal for us,” said Geoff Metts, co-owner of Five Star Guitars. “It adds a certain level of legitimacy and it feels great.”

According to NAMM, Five Star Guitars was placed among its top 100 for several reasons: a demonstrated commitment to exceptional customer service; proven community advocacy and support for music education; an exemplary retail experience worth returning for and recommending to others; merchandising and marketing tactics that encourage repeat sales; sound planning for future success, employing marketing and training initiatives; and engaging and effective use of Web and social media.

“Five Star Guitars exemplifies the passion for making music that unites all of us,” said Joe Lamond, president and CEO of NAMM. “They are on the front lines in bringing music and music education to their community, and are truly the backbone of our industry.”

Metts said he and his two business partners — Jeremie Murfin and John Paul Simonet — bought the business from its founder, Ken Potter, in February 2012.

“It was an opportunity to do all the things we thought we wanted to do. We brought in a lot of new lines and expanded with more online stuff,” Metts said.

Potter had opened the business at the Tanasbourne mall in 1998.

“He built it up to a point where it was a lot for one guy to run. His lease was running out and he didn’t want to sign on for another five years,” Metts explained. “We wanted to keep a good music store in the neighborhood.”

About six weeks ago, the business opened a second store at 270 E. Main St. in downtown Hillsboro.

“We needed more space and a downtown store opened up. We’ll have a grand opening in June,” Metts said.

The Main Street store provides the business with about 3,200 additional square feet.

“The downtown store has retail up front, and our Internet offices are in the back,” Metts explained.

The Tanasbourne shop — which remains the business’ flagship store — has about 3,000 square feet.

“If you want to be competitive, you have to be hustling,” said Metts. “We’re seeing opportunities to grow and expand because we have to be. If we get complacent that’s when things fall apart. We’re really passionate about this.”

Metts said his first interaction with the store was as a customer. He moved to Hillsboro in 2000, and went in to the business to pick up a pack of guitar strings.

“I kept coming in for a while, then eventually got a job,” Metts said. “It has been a great place for a long time.”

Now that he is an owner, Metts said he recognizes there is one basic reason for the store’s continued success.

“I’d like to thank all the customers for supporting us for 16 years,” he said. “We’re bucking trends nationally. A lot of independent musical stores and going out of business, but we’re expanding. We’ve made a lot of big strides since we took over.”



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