Top 100 Dealer of the Year – Five Star Guitars
Five Star Guitars of Beaverton, Oregon, has been named NAMM’s Top 100 Dealer of the Year at Believe in Music week (January 18 – 22). NAMM’s Top 100 Dealer of the Year award is selected by an independent panel of judges. Previous award recipients include Cosmo Music Co. (2019), Andertons Music Co. (2018), and A & G Central Music (2017).
The retailer aims to “support musicians from beginner to pro by stocking major brands like Fender, Gibson, Mesa Boogies, PRS, Taylor, Suhr, and Tom Anderson while featuring locals like Breedlove, Benson Amps, and Divine Noise Cables.” The in-house luthier even performs a custom setup before new and used guitars hit the shelves. This unique process entails a check for high frets, neck adjustment, filing of the slots in the nut, adjusting bridges, optimizing saddles, perfecting the intonation, inspect for finish flaws, electronic issues, and playability. All of this work is included for free even before the guitar hits the sales floor, a setup that could cost customers up to $100 outside Five Star Guitars. Beyond fulfilling its customers’ product needs, the store also offers private lessons every day of the week and a full-service instrument and amp repair shop.
Part of the secret sauce that makes Five Star Guitars a Dealer of the Year are its core values. At the heart of it is an active presence in community engagement, with the intent to give back to their community. This principle has been demonstrated time and again with participation from co-owners Geoff Metts, Jeremie Murfin, and Jeep Simonet in NAMM’s Music Education Advocacy D.C. Fly-In. Involved in the effort since 2018, Five Star Guitar's leadership have joined nearly 100 music industry leaders and artists as delegates, advocating for music education in the nation’s capital. Five Star Guitars was also the first sponsor to support MusicPortland, a non-profit that aims to "support and unite individual artists, services, and makers.” MusicPortland has provided instruments and gear for local Parks and Recreation music programs for the past decade.
We spoke with Geoff Metts, one of Five Star Guitars owners, about being named NAMM’s Top 100 Dealer of the Year.
What does it feel like to be named NAMM’s Top 100 Dealer of the Year?
We are incredibly honored. The excitement in the shop is palpable! We watched the Top 100 Awards live in our store, so when we won, the staff and customers that were here erupted in applause. I was in a lesson room just off the showroom floor, and I could see people looking in through the glass door, waving and giving the thumbs up as I accepted the award. It was an amazing feeling to be recognized by the industry in this most prestigious way – especially in such a crazy year.
"What does this award mean for the store and your employees?”
It’s a dream come true. We started in 1998 as a small store on the edge of town. After working as employees for about ten years each, my partners and I bought the business in 2012 from the founder. We wanted to preserve the family atmosphere that attracted us as employees while also expanding into the future of retail. We brought commerce onto our website and expanded the repair department, lesson program, and our social media presence. We have worked closely with our vendor partners to curate a great selection of new and used gear. We also visited some of the best stores around the country and networked with them through NAMM. We still feel like a small, independent business, so to be recognized as peers of the best stores in the world is, again, a dream come true.
Can you provide any advice for other retailers looking to mirror Five Star Guitars success?
With every decision, we ask ourselves ‘Would this make Five Star Guitars a better experience for our customers? A better place to work for our employees?’ If the answer is yes, then it’s worth considering.
Is there anything exciting in the works for Five Star Guitars that our readers should know about?
We are looking forward to resuming our student concert series and hosting in-store events with artists and vendors as soon as we can safely do so. Meanwhile, we’re just trying to live up to our newly bestowed title by continuing to help people find the gear they dig and advocating for more music in our communities.