DeGeorge Bros. Guitars is tucked into a small row of shops in Crescent Hill, on the corner of Frankfort and Stilz Avenues. Combining the vintage wood floors, stone hearth, and the fact that the shop is owned and operated by two brothers, Vic and Dan DeGeorge, their goal of being “a friendly neighborhood music store like we used to have in the old days” can be easily felt the moment you walk in the door.
Vic and Dan grew up here in Louisville, went school at Trinity just down the street from their shop, and returned 10 years ago after spending some time away and in other industries. According to Vic, they opened the store a little over 5 years ago with a simple strategy: “Our whole philosophy to be successful as a small music store is to offer things that you can’t get at a big box store or online, which is products and services.” Along with the products they sell, they offer guitar repair services featuring a network of luthiers with a variety of specialties, amp repair services, and lessons.
“We call our business model a ‘small batch bourbon model.’ [We] find smaller companies that not everyone may know, but they tend to have better quality control than some bigger companies, and these are things that aren’t available at other stores.”
The shop is stocked with a number of brands that are hard to come by, such as Reverend, Supro, Larivee, Old Blood Noise Endeavors, and Pigtronix, and they sell everything from acoustic and electric guitars, basses, amplifiers, and effects pedals down to an extensive line of ukuleles. They also have a number of unique items, like a line of exclusive Reverend Buckshot guitars in a striking silver sparkle finish. Stocking their shop with items that tend to be “outside the mainstream,” follows a trend in the music market that’s looking backward toward vintage and retro-inspired music gear. The current gear market shows a resurgence of lesser-known brands, retro-inspired designs, and reissues of vintage models for guitars and effects pedals. According to Vic, to be successful, “We really have to cherry-pick the products we sell and how we sell them. We want to offer something you can’t find everywhere else.” Their distinctive line-up of gear definitely accomplishes that goal.
The advent of Amazon and online shopping is changing the game for small retail stores, and the music industry is no exception. I asked Vic about how that affects their business.
“Opening a small retail music store in today’s environment is a fool’s errand, really. [He laughs.] It would make way more sense just to have an online shop or something. And it used to be easy. When everybody wanted to be a rock star and the big box stores didn’t exist, you put out a few brands and a shingle on the door, and people are beating your door down. We don’t really enjoy selling online, but it’s a necessary evil. It’s a lot more fun face-to-face, to put [guitars] in someone’s hand and see them happy.”
So what would make these guys take up such a “fool’s errand”? Talk with the DeGeorge brothers for more than a minute, and you’ll quickly find that they’re passionate about what they’re doing – providing professional gear for serious musicians of all levels. To experience their unique inventory, personalized service, and friendly atmosphere for yourself, stop by and see them, or visit them on their Instagram, Facebook page, or Reverb.com shop.
2910 Frankfort Ave.
Open Mon. – Sat.