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Strumming up business
Dan DeMers knows a thing or two about guitars.
After all, he has been strumming away for 52 years.
DeMers opened American Guitars in Kitsap Mall in Silverdale the end of last year, but just recently moved from the north end of the mall to be Gap’s neighbor just south of center court.
DeMers was in the satellite television business for almost 27 years and when he left that job, he decided he wanted to start an online business. Selling guitars proved to be the perfect fit.
“It just happened to be that I was looking to sell something online and you got to know what you’re selling,” he said.
DeMers said his parents bought him his first acoustic guitar when he was 8 years old.
“It was like a baseball bat cut in half. It was rough,” he said with a smile.
DeMers began selling guitars online four years ago.
He said he has guitars made to his specifications and they come straight from the manufacturer, making their guitars reasonably priced.
“With us, there’s no middleman. We buy directly from the manufacturer,” he said. “Our prices are real reasonable.”
His acoustic and electric guitars cost anywhere from $125 to $299. He sold about 12 guitars a day for a while on the Web site because of the low prices, he added.
DeMers also sells name-brand guitars, which are pricier than the American Guitar brands.
“We’re consistently striving to pick up more name-brand products,” he said.
American Guitars even sells a maple violin with a case and bow for $99.99.
“You don’t find maple violins everyday for $99.99,” DeMers said.
Bass guitars, mandolins and ukuleles also are sold at the guitar shop.
“The ukuleles are really popular with the high school kids,” DeMers said. “We had so many people asking for them, we now sell three kinds.”
He said the new American Guitars location inside the mall is much larger than the old spot. They now sell accessories, including bags, cables, straps and pedals because they have room to house them.
“We couldn’t sell accessories at the old location and you were tripping over each other,” DeMers said.
American Guitars now offers guitar lessons at the Kitsap Mall shop. Private lessons cost $20 per lesson now through the end of May. Classes are held Saturdays and Sundays and the 30-minute sessions normally cost $25 a piece.
“That’s unheard of. Most lessons cost $30,” DeMers said.
He said he’s surprised at the number of people in Kitsap County who play guitar and the business is doing well.
“If you’ve ever played guitar, it kind of takes you away from the world,” he said. “It takes you away, it really does.”
DeMers continues to sell guitars online and American Guitars is open inside Kitsap Mall during normal mall hours.
“This business really is a kick in the pants. It’s a lot of fun,” he said. “It’s just a much more laid back kind of atmosphere, so it’s a lot of fun.”
For more information on American Guitars, call (360) 307-7094 or visit the company Web site at www.americanguitars.biz.