Trio strikes chord in Boulder Creek
by Joe Shreve
Dec 07, 2012 | 3117 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Boulder Creek Music co-owner Barry Tanner plays a two-string bass made from an empty water jug, one of the many unique instruments offered at the shop.
Boulder Creek Music co-owner Barry Tanner plays a two-string bass made from an empty water jug, one of the many unique instruments offered at the shop.
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Local musician Toph Wells checks out the guitars on display inside the new shop.
Local musician Toph Wells checks out the guitars on display inside the new shop.
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Aficionados of rare and unique musical instruments need no longer go farther than Boulder Creek to find their treasures, as a trio of lifelong friends and musicians have teamed up to open Boulder Creek Music.

The store, located in the Odd Fellows building, 13101 Highway 9, in Boulder Creek, is packed to the gills with new and used instruments and equipment for professionals and beginners alike.

Since a Nov. 17 grand opening, co-owner Barry Tanner said the positive reception by the community has been overwhelming.

“It’s been wonderful — phenomenal, really,” he said. “The interest is more than I thought (it would be), and I thought there’d be a lot.”

According to Tanner, the goal of the store is not only to be a destination to buy, sell, trade and repair instruments, but also to be a center for learning.

“We’re focusing on instruction for kids,” he said.

He noted that the store was stocked with many sizes of instruments, including guitars and drum kits suited for children’s use.

In addition to traditional instruments, such as guitars, bass guitars, amplifiers and drum kits, Boulder Creek Music includes in its eclectic stock some custom-designed items, such as a three-string drum bass and a traveling amplifier, created by co-owner Michael Smith.

“(Smith has) been creating and collecting unique instruments all his life,” Tanner said. “You’ll never see anything like a three-string drum bass.”

Tanner said the store is intended as a destination and pit stop for musicians.

“Our goal, ultimately, is to be a one-stop shop for music,” he said. “A band can come in, put in all their orders, get something to eat (in downtown Boulder Creek) and then head out for the next three gigs.”

That vision has been in the making since 1977, when Tanner and Smith, his childhood friend, moved to Santa Cruz from Davis as young musicians and befriended Ray Newkirk while working at the former Swan restaurant in Santa Cruz.

Thirty-five years later, the three men had taken different paths. Newkirk was operating a biofuel station in Santa Cruz; Tanner was running Pass Studio, a recording and rehearsal space in Boulder Creek; and Smith had two music stores in Seattle.

But about six months ago, Tanner said, Smith called him up, saying that one of his stores had an abundance of stock that he had no space for in Seattle.

“He called me and asked if there was any retail space,” Tanner said. “This (space) just happened to be sitting here empty.”

Tanner, a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, said the building owned by the chapter had been unoccupied for several months, and he had been tasked with changing that.

“I was responsible for finding a tenant — I didn’t know it’d be me,” Tanner said with a laugh. “(Smith) couldn’t weasel out of it.”

Since the store opened, Tanner said, the three partners have taken turns managing the day-to-day operation of Boulder Creek Music, allowing them to maintain their independent businesses, too.

The store will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week until Jan. 15, After that date, the store will be closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

For information: http://bouldercreekmusic.com or 338-3018.

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