Doug Adams, owner of The Guitar Den in Storm Lake, has grown his business from his small shop on Railroad Street to find success online and in overseas sales. His often hard-to-find instruments have been shipped out to musicians in countries like Australia and Norway. He has even been able to make sales when he's sleeping, he says.
However, the part he loves about the business is being able to connect with his customers in a more personal manner with his downtown business and help customers find what a good quality instrument for whatever playing level they may be at.
"My online business has allowed me to open up this shop in town and be a service to the local community," he said. With many people buying online Adams said it has made it harder for small shop owners like him to survive unless they become internet savvy. However, by expanding his business far beyond his shop walls, it has helped him to keep quality products on hand locally.
Adams first found success in selling his guitars online at home out of his basement after buying and selling a few special guitars of his own.
When his basement was full of guitars waiting to be sold and his wife could no longer clear a path to the washing machine, he decided to try opening his own business. He already worked full-time at the time when he opened his business in November 2006, so it became a sideline job. However, it was one way for him to live out his hobby and love for music. "It's just all about the guitars," he said.
When his shop first opened he carried only about 20 or 30 guitars at any given time, since then he's been able to double that amount and hopes to carry at least 100 guitars in the future.
While he sells the common accoustic and electric guitars, he likes to keep a more unique selection and order in other unusual or harder to find guitars when he can, like a seven string bass or a left handed guitar. "It's interesting to see all the different instruments that exist," he said.
Another aspects this business owner likes about running a shop is being able to meet talented musicians who often drop by. While he may not be able to fulfill his "wannabe" musician desires to one day become a big time musician, he said he just enjoys it when musicians come in to look at his guitars and he gets to hear them play.
Sometimes three or four musicians will come to his shop and while trying out an instrument or teaching each other the chords to another song, they'll end up having a jam session right there in the shop. "I might grab a bass and sit in with them," he said.
Adams taught himself to play the guitar when he was in high school and played at high school dances. He played throughout college but when he got married and had a family he put his guitar away for a while. When he finally got it back out to play his kids didn't know he even knew how to play. While he has enjoyed playing in a local band "Two and a Half," he has no rock star plans.
"I've never been that good (at playing) so this (having a guitar shop) is perfect for me," he said. "The thing is to have fun and play with feeling though."
Adams store' is open on Mondays and Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturdays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m or by appointments by calling 712-299-3769.