Val Prevish reports:
Frank McGucken drew on a lifetime love affair with music to launch his own music store, Play on This!
Now, with a relocation that doubles his space at Bridgewater Falls Lifestyle Shopping Center, McGucken hopes to more than double his sales as well. His dream: To build a regional retail network selling instruments, equipment, lessons and apparel.“We’re a different animal than most other music stores,” he said. He cites “the most extensive collection of wearables” found locally, adding: “Our clothing appeals to musicians and anyone who likes music, really.”
McGucken first opened Play on This! in the Cincinnati Premium Outlets shopping center in Monroe. Sales were strong, and he quickly outgrew that 1,200-square-foot space.
He attributes his success, in part, to clothing lines that include the Two Old Hippies, Scott Weiland, John Lennon and Rock ‘n Roll Religion brands. He also sells licensed T-shirts from popular instrument brands such as Fender and Gibson; guitars from Taylor, Crafter and Schecter; and drums from Crush and Sonor.
Several racks of T-shirts are at the center of his store, which also features items like “gig” jackets that are popular with musicians and those who just want to look like one. Prices range from $13 for a T-shirt to $400 for the highest priced jackets. He even sells baby onesies with popular music brands and faces – including Elvis.
“I got a shipment of these by accident,” he said of the first rock ’n’ roll onesies that he carried. “But they sold like crazy, so I started stocking them.”
Today, clothing makes up about half of all sales, he says. He did not reveal revenues. The store employs one worker; McGucken is interviewing for a second.
Customer Troy Pennington of Fairfield says he visits the store regularly to search for the music-themed apparel and accessories.
“It’s great to go in and find a guitar T-shirt from a line I like,” Pennington said. “He’s got a neat blend of instruments, T-shirts and gifts like coffee cups, ball caps and note paper. I found a Def Leppard T-shirt there from their Pyromania Tour many years ago. You don’t see that just anywhere.”
McGucken has played drums and keyboards all his life. He says kids are losing the art of music because of distractions such as video games.
“We need more musicians in the world. It will become a lost art if they don’t learn how to play,” McGucken said. “And it’s proven that kids who play do better in math and science.”
McGucken offers private lessons at $20 per half hour on instruments from guitar to French horn, and plans to add group guitar lessons. He’d like to schedule up to 200 lessons a week, a goal he says is doable given the number of families who live nearby.
“I’ve spent a lifetime learning about this industry and the products. Now having my own business makes me feel like I’ve arrived. It’s a labor of love really.”
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