Until recently, Tyler Beatrice sold guitars through the Slash Root Café on Main Street in New Paltz. It worked for awhile, but there was something about selling guitars in a “tech café” that just didn’t seem right. To use a musical term, there was dissonance. But what to do?
“The idea of packing up half a dozen guitars and taking them home with me (from New Paltz) wasn’t that appealing,” Beatrice said. “I was thinking about finding a working store for sale, and then I decided to open my own store.”
Beatrice found his new business partner in Ian Flanigan, an old friend. The two, both Saugerties natives, had played music together at Saugerties High School. Flanigan had just completed a yearlong apprenticeship as a luthier in Pueblo, Colorado. It seemed like a natural combination: two friends, retail and repair.
Beatrice and Flanigan are youthful entrepreneurs: Beatrice is 22 and Flanigan is 21.
Their store and workshop at 207 Main Street, called Root Note, is an authorized Seagull guitar dealership, with several other brands also in stock. Other stringed instruments are also sold, including a banjo, mandolins, and a violin, but it’s mostly guitars, amplifiers and accessories.
The repair and guitar-building side of the business is called Crooked Tree.
The store will also take guitars to sell on consignment, and several used guitars are on sale. Beatrice and Flanigan also offer guitar lessons.
The decision to feature Seagull guitars was a financial one, Beatrice said. Seagull guitars are good quality instruments at reasonable prices. With a requirement to buy a minimum stock in order to qualify as a dealer, he would have had to front the money for five or so Taylor or Martin guitars, and this would be out of his price range at present. The shop could expand to more upscale guitars later, he said.
Beatrice, 22, in addition to being a small business owner, is a student at the SUNY New Paltz. He started as anthropology major, then switched to international business studies. He could finish his degree in about a year, he said, but he’s considering taking some time off to concentrate on the business.
Flanigan, 21, tried college in Florida, but it didn’t take. He spent some time on the road as a traveling musician, which he describes as “a tough life.” Following his apprenticeship, he returned to Saugerties, planning to go into business repairing and building guitars.
“It kind of fell together, and here we are,” said Flanigan.
“We started the business improvising, like we do on the guitar,” Tyler added.
The partners opened the store about a month ago, and traffic has been pretty good, thanks in part to their contacts in the local music scene. Both perform at open mics and clubs, which helps get the word out. Both also write music, and they don’t plan to stop performing despite the demands of a new business and – for Beatrice – going to class.
For more on Root Note, check out https://www.facebook.com/rootnotemusicshop.
This article originally appeared in the Dec. 9 issue of Saugerties Times.