Guitar retailer gets set to strike a chord with expansion  

A FAMILY-RUN guitar shop based in a barn in Kirkby has tripled its trading space as it looks to expand its sales in the UK, Europe and the USA.

Now in its fifth year of trading, Austin Guitars have moved into a new 540 square foot retail space, that owner Reg Clappison says offers all the charm of their previous home coupled with all the space they need to display their range of new and used guitars.

Reg has been in the guitar business for more than 10 years. Formerly an arboriculturalist, he spent his earlier years gigging at bars and clubs across the North West with a covers band.

In November 2016, Reg made the decision to turn his passion into profit and launched Austin Guitars, trading online and from a small room upstairs at The Barn on Shevingtons Lane.

Reg now supplies hundreds of guitars each year right across the country and until recently had a growing customer base in Europe too. A market that has become more difficult since Brexit.

Musician Paul Hemmings and Austin Guitars owner Ref Clappison

The Barn provides a base for a number of other local businesses, including a hair salon, wedding planner and florist. Reg says it’s been a fantastic home for his business over the years, so when the opportunity came up to occupy a larger space it just felt like the natural next step.

“Given the uncertainty of the last 18 months many people might think it’s an odd time to expand,” he said, “but actually, despite the impact on retailers, there remains a huge, perhaps even growing market for guitars.

“When I came away from the gigging scene almost 10 years ago, live music was pretty much on its knees. But there’s been a real resurgence, particularly in Liverpool where the Mersey Beat era paved the way for a new wave of singers, songwriters and performers – music is just in the veins here.

“The scene is vibrant and exciting again and I’m really looking forward to becoming more connected to it again now lockdown is over and welcoming artists through the doors as Austin Guitars. We will also continue to provide a guitar repair and set up service.”

Reg launched his new showroom welcoming more than a hundred guests through his doors, including long time customer and friend, musician Paul Hemmings of The La’s and Lightening Seeds fame.

Paul has been visiting Reg at Austin Guitars since it opened in 2005 and came along to support the expansion and play an acoustic set.

For more information or to arrange and appointment contact Reg Clappison directly on 07730 409841 or email sales@austinguitars.co.uk