Legends Guitars and Vinyl, a guitar store downtown, promotes local artist and artisans by providing original indie gear to music lovers in the area.
In 2003, Stacie Conrad, the owner of Legends, moved with his wife to Siloam Springs to settle into the small town life. Living in town for a number of years, Conrad noticed that the community had something special.
“It had such an amazing historic downtown that had so much potential, but it seemed like nobody was really doing anything about it for the longest time,” Conrad said. “In recent years, that has changed, and it’s awesome.”
This spring, when Conrad decided that he would open a guitar store, he made a decision to contribute to the recent development of downtown Siloam Springs. The store brings a new element that downtown Siloam has never seen with vinyl records and locally-crafted guitars.
Conrad has built a relationship with artisans in the area. Conrad supports artists by selling their creations in his business. In addition, Conrad is learning from the artisans, creating his own unique guitars to feature in his store.
“It gives the customer a more rounded experience with different guitars, rather than if it were only my guitars,” Conrad explained. “It’s like an art gallery: it’s more interesting if you don’t have just one artist.”
The owner’s vision for Legends is to create something that is more along the lines of a local farmer’s market with his products. Just as farmers sell fruit and vegetables to be sent directly to consumers, Conrad plans to sell his guitars and vinyl records to artists and music enthusiasts.
Conrad credits much of the success of Legends to the other businesses downtown that also bring in customers. Businesses such as Pure Joy Ice Cream have attracted customers who end up walking around downtown and finding out that Legends sells records as well as guitars.
“What I’ve found is it’s a lot easier to do this when people have like visions,” Conrad said. “Now I see that it takes a community of likewise individuals to really get a thriving downtown.”
Conrad’s biggest goal right now is to incorporate community into the model for his business and navigate selling high-end guitars in NWA. In addition to local artists, much of the interest in guitars in Siloam comes from new players wanting to buy and take lessons.
“The hard part is getting this into motion and figuring it out practically. How do you get locally-built guitars when those aren’t in the price range of a beginner guitarist? Even if it was in the price range, you might not want a new kid playing a $4,000 guitar,” Conrad said.
In order to fit the community business model, Conrad will be working towards expanding his collection of guitars for the public. He also wants to include more local bands into his record collection to support the community’s bands.
“My records right now aren’t local, but I want to create a section,” Conrad said. “Right now local bands are making CDs, and records are out of reach. I want to get a record cutter and do one-off record cutting and change that.”
With his quality products, innovative ideas, and surrounding community, Conrad hopes to redefine what is means to own a guitar store in NWA.
SAM BAILEY – World and Local Editor