MANATEE -- Three years ago, the Red Barn Flea Market helped inspire Scott Cook to open the Sarasota Guitar Company, a music store that specializes in offering great deals to musicians.
On Monday, Cook returned to the “birthplace” of his business by opening a second Sarasota Guitar Company at 2111 Cortez Road.
“Even though Bradenton and Sarasota are fairly close together, they’re two different markets, and we’ve been having a lot of people ask us when we’re coming to Bradenton,” Cook said. “We’ve found a spot that has good visibility from the road and is in what we consider the retail center of Manatee County.”
When Cook and his wife, Nancy, first went into business for themselves in 2008, they started a company called Such a Deal, selling dollar items at the flea market.
When it came time for Cook to follow through on a promise to his son, to “buy him a new guitar if he practiced and got better,” Cook took his son’s old guitar to the flea market.
“I was amazed at how many people were drawn to that guitar,” Cook said. “A lightbulb went off.”
The Cooks began selling more guitars and within a few months changed their business to Such a Deal Music. By the end of 2008, they found a storefront in south Sarasota and left the flea market. Business kept growing, and the company moved to a larger location. Now they hope to earn the same kind of loyalty from the Manatee community that they have in Sarasota.
Philip Beasley, a Bradenton resident who had been traveling to the Sarasota store, was among the first customers at Sarasota Guitar Company’s new Bradenton location.
“I’m really excited,” said Beasley, a self-employed contractor whose wife bought him a guitar from the company, and who has also purchased several guitars for his children. “Most of my work is gravitated toward the north, so it was hard for me to go all the way down to Sarasota and support them. I’m very happy that I can support them up here.”
Sarasota Guitar Company has built a “musician-friendly” reputation that includes allowing musicians to play guitars in-store without limitation, offering a 30-day money-back guarantee, and a one-year upgrade policy that allows trade-ins for full value on a higher-cost guitar for one year after purchase.
The company also has a “certified” program that offers new guitars with slight cosmetic blemishes for deep discounts.
Christine Hawes, Herald business writer, can be reached at (941) 745-7081.