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SHINE A LIGHT

OREGON’S SHINING STAR By Michelle Loeb

“I don’t just own the store; I live and breathe music. I have for most of my life.” Ask David Locke why he and Brenda, his wife of 33 years, decided to launch LAWK STAR Guitars in 2013, and that’s exactly what he’ll tell you. Locke is passionate about music and has been ever since he “got the bug” in his youth, when he started playing the drums before getting his first guitar in his late teens. An avid musician, he has been playing guitar and bass ever since, and he also “loves to dabble with his ukulele and mandolin” when he has time. Despite his overwhelming love for music, Locke didn’t jump right into the MI game, working first as a carpenter, then a car salesman and eventually a commercial construction superintendent before deciding to go into business with his wife. Even though he dreamed of selling musical instruments ever since he walked into Portland’s Apple Music Co. in 1984, Locke took the time to build his sales skills and business acumen before finally opening an online store of his own. He puts those skills to use every day when dealing with his growing, loyal customer base. “We offer an online experi50

ence with a personal touch,” explained Locke. “My thing is just being forthright. I sell on my enthusiasm. I’m trying to be the opposite of some of the salespeople I’ve dealt with because no one wants to hear from a slick salesperson.” For Locke, relationships are the key to everything that happens at LAWK LAWK STAR Guitars STAR Guitars. 11705 SE 222nd Dr. Damascus OR 97089 Customers 503.915.5824 who reach out www.lawkstarguitars.com noting that it’s the to him will David Locke, CEO and only “free tool” availCo-Founder have the virable, and he makes tual red carpet himself available via rolled out for text, as well as phone and email. them, and Locke won’t stop until The retailer has amassed a social they are satisfied. “We’ll do whatmedia audience of approximately ever they ask for because it’s all 60,000 combined followers about the customer. When they between Facebook, Instagram call, everything stops until they and Twitter in less than the are taken care of,” said Locke, five years it has been in busiwho added that the same service ness. Locke also maintains his and consideration is offered personal social media presence even to those who don’t end up so that his customers can follow buying from his shop. his career as a musician outside “You don’t have to buy from of the store. us to get an answer from us,” “A lot of my customers know he continued. “We like to help me on Facebook, and they see people, and if we have the time me play,” said Locke, who is to do something and say we are also a permanent member of the going to do it, we will — not to country/southern rock band get something in return, but Cage & Focx based out of Nashbecause we want to help.” ville. “Originally, I had tried to Locke is very active on social keep that separate from the busimedia to reach his customers,

ness,” he continued, “but people like to see me out there.” To help facilitate the shopping experience, Locke makes sure that every listing on the retailer’s website is replete with information, photos, and audio and videos when available. Locke’s wife, who serves as chief of operations/vice president of LAWK STAR Guitars, while also working part-time at an insurance firm, is tasked with handling the majority of the content that goes up on the website and its Reverb store, in addition to other back-end tasks. Brenda chuckles about working seven days a week for the MI store, plus three days a week somewhere else. “She’s very talented and is definitely not afraid of hard work,” asserted Locke. The Damascus, Ore.-based APRIL 2019

Profile for Music & Sound Retailer

Music & Sound Retailer April 2019, Vol 36 No 4