Discussing the International Success of Elderly Instruments with Owner Stan Werbin

stan werbin with banjos

“We want you, whether it’s through the mail or whether it’s in the store, we want you to feel like you’ve come into our living room. You’re not walking in a music store where they’re trying to sell you something because we don’t do high-pressure sales at all. I mean, we would like to sell you something because we have to do that, but the way we tend to do it is to provide you with the tools to do that, which is to say we allow you to try the instruments, we hope you feel comfortable in the store, and we want you to let that instrument choose you, if you will. Or at the very worst, you can choose it. But either way, we like to think that when you walk into our store or when you call us on the phone or hopefully you go onto our website, we want you to trust us because we feel there’s no way you can sell something to somebody without a sense of trust.”

— Stan Werbin

 

Today I sat down with the one and only Stan Werbin, owner of Elderly Instruments. Elderly is an internationally known company located in Old Town, Lansing, MI right across the river from my family’s company, Friedland Industries. Everyone from beginner guitarists to world famous musicians will travel from across the globe just to pay a visit to Elderly.

While Stan and I had never met until today, Elderly has played a huge role in my life. I’ve always enjoyed stopping in to look for new guitars, admire the vintage guitars, and sometimes participate in an impromtu jam session with strangers. Even the song I used for the intro for today’s interview is from an album I released in 2006 that Elderly let me record onsite in the store!

Stan owns the shop, his wife, Sandy, does the bookkeeping, and his daughter, Lily, does social media, along with the other roughly 70 employees who make Elderly function. Behind this highly influential instrument shop, though, is a man with a giant heart and a great outlook on life. It’s truly an honor to interview Stan.

Enough with the introductions, though. Here’s the full interview with Stan!

 

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Listen to this episode on iTunes!

 

Hidden Gems

Here are some of the hidden gems from the interview with Stan:

Stan’s Favorite Current Album

Jayme Stone’s Lomax Project

Stan’s Niece (Artist Who Painted the Mural Outside of Elderly)

Jennifer Springman (JMS Creative)

Stan’s Recommended Books to Get Started on Learning About Vintage Guitars

These were really hard to find links for. I was only able to find them on Amazon.com, and many are used. You may also be able to find them at a library near you!

American Guitars by Tom Weeler

Acoustic Guitars & Other Fretted Instruments by George Gruhn and Walter Carter

Electric Guitars and Bases by George Gruhn and Walter Carter

Where You Can Reach Stan Online

Elderly.com

Elderly Instruments on Facebook

Elderly Instruments on Twitter

Elderly Instruments on Instagram

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