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Store History

Guitar Factory Gladesville originally started in the early sixties as a guitar repair business known as DeKroo Bros Music. It was one of the few guitar repair shops in Sydney and did work for major retailers such as Nicholsons, Palings and Landis Music as well as wholesalers such as Yamaha Australia and CBS who were the Fender distributors at the time. Up to a dozen Fenders would go through the workshop each week as resprays for CBS.

The business changed hands in the early seventies and the name was changed to Guitar Factory. There are many name dropping anecdotes to be had, notably Vanda and Young dumping loads of assorted guitars in varying states of disrepair and a (young) Malcolm Young having his now famous Gretsch passing periodically across the workbench. The retailing side of the business expanded over the years but Guitar Factory Gladesville has continued to maintain a renowned in-house repair service.

For over 40 years the store has been under the same family management and has always focussed on the niche instrument market. Our goal is to provide a down-to-earth, pressure free environment, we are passionate about gear and the customers we sell to. We can fix just about anything you can break and we pay attention to the finer details with first-hand knowledge and experience. We love to play and sell the finest guitars, effects and Classicals and are Sydney’s only specialist store for banjos, mandolins and bluegrass and folk instruments. Drop by and check out the jam packed store first-hand. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Gladesville Guitar Factory is Australia's longest running guitar store under the same ownership. We specialise in acoustic, electric and classical guitars, an eclectic array of folk instruments, such as banjos, mandolins and ukuleles, accessories, effects pedals and repairs. Our retail premises also hosts a music tuition facility, Guitar Factory School, training the young musicians of tomorrow and many mature age players, picking up an instrument later in life. 

Over the years, our store has been the destination store for musicians of all levels, from beginner to some of the most famous guitarists in the world, who have all come to love our laid-back style combined with a level of product knowledge and experience in our team that is unmatched.

We advertise in Australian guitar, folk and ukulele publications as well as at Tamworth Country Music Festival. 

We sponsor our local radio station 2RRR and advertise across the Sydney Metropolitan Area on Hope FM Radio. 

We were one of the first music shops in Australia to establish a website, back in 1998 and over the years it has evolved into a fully-fledged eCommerce platform with thousands of products for sale online.  

We focused a great deal in the early days on Search Engine Optimisation and as a result we have excellent ranking and draw customers from all over the world.  A perfect example of this is an occasion when comedian Billy Connolly googled us, looking for a particular banjo that we just happened to have in stock. So when he came to Sydney on tour, he knew everything about us, walked right in and bought the banjo in question on the spot.  This type of thing happens on a regular basis, with people searching for and finding niche instruments in search engines then turning up at our store from all manner of distant locations. 

We run clinics and masterclasses for guitarists and other instrumentalists, including ukulele, bass, banjo, etc.  Some of these locally held clinics have featured some of the most famous musicians in the world, including, for example, Paul Simon's Bass Player, Bakithi Kumalo and Hawaiian Ukulele star Daniel Ho.

The marketing of our business has a significant word-of-mouth component to it. The way we conduct our business, the way we treat our customers and most importantly the way we support the music industry and the next generation of musicians is critical. We have always supported professional musicians with trade discounts and gone the extra mile for an emergency repair when a big gig is looming.

On the supplier side as well, a successful retail store cannot survive without developing and nurturing friendships with those whose products we sell.  We actively engage with our suppliers both professionally and as friends, and this has seen us weather the toughest of times in our 40+ years of operation, as those suppliers look after us with stock and pricing that enable us to offer to our customers. 

We actively maintain communication with thousands of customers through our eNewsletter, including special invitations and deals, new product releases and industry updates.  More recently, we have migrated many of our customers to our Facebook page, with over 3,500 followers and growing every day.   

We sponsor many charity fundraisers, schools and sporting clubs with guitars and gift vouchers as prizes.  

We have sponsored a number of artists over the years, most recently the very talented singer songwriter Matt Tonks, where we helped him produce videos and recordings and promote him through our network. In exchange he has performed a number of product demonstration videos for us, which are viewed widely and help secure new customers.  

Our goal is to provide a down-to-earth, pressure free environment, we are passionate about music, instruments and the customers we sell to. This passion is expressed in the high level of product knowledge we have and the ability to solve issues, suggest the right equipment for any budget and offer second to none level of workmanship on instruments. We specialise in high end, handmade instruments and also cater for beginners with quality, budget guitars.

As mentioned, word-of-mouth is absolutely critical in the music business and in a specialist retail destination store such as ours. We work hard to maintain decades-long relationships with many of Australia's best known guitarists, whilst also never neglecting the next generation of players, who are coming up through the many local schools and talent tuition businesses we supply to and support.

All of our staff, throughout the history of the business, have been selected on two main criteria - their people skills and the absolute passion for music.  This combination ensures customers are treated with respect, no matter whether they are a beginner or a seasoned professional, and the advice and knowledge that is shared with them is coming from someone who truly lives and breathes their music retail career.   

Staff are motivated through a management-down positive attitude involving close friendships. We recognise each others talents and these are expressed in our work. This results in genuine, quality customer service.

Regular staff meetings are held to address and solve any issues that might arise during a hectic day in the store. Staff are all musicians and highly self-motivated both to play music but also to absorb as much product knowledge as they can.

Mentoring is a big part of our staff experience.  A shop that has been around for 40+ years has by default a large collection of seasoned, knowledgeable and wise staff, friends and customers.  Staff are encouraged to engage socially outside work hours with the diverse friends of the shop, where stories are told and wisdom is passed on.   

We recycle everything! All our products are delivered and shipped in cardboard and it's a regular and large undertaking to compress, store, then recycle. A long history of consuming coffee became an issue particularly for coffee cups and an investment was made into a coffee machine - just doing our bit! By proxy our industry is heavily regulated with restrictions on un-sustainable timbers. By default also, our industry thrives on instruments that last.  It is not a throwaway type of business.  Our instruments are loved and kept and even inherited.

We have continued to introduce new, boutique brands, importing directly from US suppliers. We have built strong personal relationships with the founders of these renowned companies, based on our 40+ year reputation in the industry.  This creates a point of difference for our store, when we become the exclusive retail outlet for highly sought-after niche labels. This includes handmade acoustic guitars, effect pedals, mandolins and banjos. 

Of particular note, we seem to be bucking the trend of retail where many music shops and other retail businesses are losing market share to big online players like Amazon and eBay. Customers are realising the value of personal relationships with expert retailers, and the value of real service, both during and after a sale is complete. 

We have embraced online retail ourselves and this has become a significant success for us, but the 'bricks and mortar' local Gladesville Shop is the real destination for our customers, who come to play try out the instruments, amps and effects, talk to professional musicians who are passionate about their music, meet other musicians in store and experience all the things that cannot be replaced online.  Our online success is integral to the business but is complementary to the shop itself.

We regularly sponsor local community-building events and schools, donating instruments and vouchers for many causes and fundraisers. We feel this encourages people to be involved in the community through the common language of music. 

We also donate to and contribute in events for the MS Society including a regular team in the yearly Sydney to Wollongong ride and providing support for the MS Ball each year.

Recently, we participated in and sponsored the local 'Thriving Communities' event at Epping Club in 2016 and Macquarie Park in late 2017.  We felt that it aligned strongly with our values of supporting each other, making local community connections and finding new ways to work together as a community.  As a result of these events, we ended up sponsoring Hope FM Community radio station, we sponsored a local rugby team with a guitar raffle prize for their chosen charity, supporting a team member with cancer, and we have planned numerous events and sponsorships that have all flowed on from our initial support of the Thriving Communities events; an upcoming Mental Health Awareness festival in Gladesville 'Bedlam on the Bay', 'Light Up East Ryde' Christmas festival, and other Rotary and Chamber of Commerce initiatives.  

We think of our customers as family and want to see the family grow, supporting young and old musicians. We make conservative decisions to sustain the business and hope to be known for the best range of instruments and best repairs in the country.

As retail moves more and more online, we see the value of our destination retail store going up, not down, as we embrace eCommerce whilst working harder on making the real world retail experience even more special.  We are constantly improving the store retail space, systems, inventory management, communications, accounting and customer processing and this will always evolve. 

As our shop moves through its 5th decade, the business is transitioning from father to son and with that comes a new generation of thinking, management style and embracing of new technologies.  We will continue to evolve in this direction but our roots will get stronger as we reach a whole new generation of tomorrow's musical legends, inspired by all those who came before them, walking into our store looking for the same thing - a Guitar Shop with a legacy they can be a part of.

We can fix just about anything you can break and we pay attention to the finer details with first-hand knowledge and experience. We have a very strong customer base and do our best to encourage return business. We love to play and sell the finest guitars, effects and classical guitars and are Sydney’s only specialist store for banjos, mandolins and bluegrass and folk instruments. 

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