Dealer Featured: The Chapman Brothers & The Acoustic Shoppe
“A lot of these roles that we fell into started with the band where we would each have some certain specialties,” says Jeremy Chapman. He’s explaining how he and his brothers, John and Jason, have used their hard-earned road chops to their advantage in order to run their store, The Acoustic Shoppe.
The Chapmans — a family band which consists of the three brothers and their dad, Bill — have spent a good part of their lives touring the bluegrass circuit and playing up to 200 dates a year. From booking shows and organizing tour schedules to creating the band’s video content — which includes a TV show on their local CBS affiliate — the Chapman brothers learned how to work together efficiently in order to keep their band working.
Running a store was never part of their plan and Jeremy says, “Just about every one of our business ventures is an accident. One thing leads to another…” But a decade or so into their lives as a touring band, they decided to move their operations from Colorado to Missouri.
Once they moved, they started to plant the seeds for what would become The Acoustic Shoppe. “In Springfield, there really weren’t any teachers. So, dad started teaching banjo, John started teaching guitar, and pretty soon we ended up with 30, 40 students that we would teach on the weekdays when we were back off the road,” explains Jeremy. “We were teaching pretty heavily. We taught Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and then hit the road again.”
They were operating out of a local music store when the owner announced that he was closing. Unable to find another place to teach in Springfield, the Chapmans decided to take over the lease on the building in late 2012. By the beginning of 2013, they opened as The Acoustic Shoppe.
Admittedly fatigued from years on the road, the brothers decided to pivot and focus their energy on the store, quickly realizing that they already knew how to function as a team with specialized roles. They also found that their expertise as veteran players was their store’s main asset. Jeremy explains, “Being a generalized music store gets harder and harder because you don’t have specialty. Our thought process was, ‘Make sure we can do something we totally feel comfortable with. When somebody comes to us with a question, we should be able to get them the answer really quick and be specialists in it.’ Then, people trust you on that because musical instruments are a personal thing.”
The Chapmans’ brand of specialization allows them to provide top-notch customer service informed by their own high-level musical experience, helping them grow into a leading acoustic instrument retailer. It’s also what has drawn them to working with Tom Bedell to carry the Bedell Guitars. “I’ve got to say of all of the CEO types that I’ve dealt with in every music company that we’ve ever seen, I’ve never found somebody else who’s as passionate as I am. I just love his passion,” says Jeremy.
The brothers see Bedell’s commitment to sustainability and the environment as an extension of that passion and it’s a huge part of the Chapmans’ love for the Bedell Guitars. “For a lot of us that are artists, we all have this love of sustainability and the whole environmental side of things,” says John. “They’re taking on this whole lifestyle, and it’s part of my lifestyle. I’ve got a personal connection with that, and it spoke to me.”
Jason adds, “Tom was the first guy to say, ‘Alright, every [guitar] that we have, we will know where the wood is sourced, and we’re going to make sure it’s all sustainable.’ How impressive is it that?”
The Chapmans not only share simpatico ethics with Bedell, they also know all of the details of the guitar lines and are quick to rave about the specs of everything from the Coffee House to the Bedell 1964 Series. It’s strong evidence that the Chapmans practice what they preach: They know the ins and outs of the instruments they sell because they’re just as passionate about reaching their customers as they are about their fans.
If you can’t make it to Springfield, MO to experience their brand of customer service firsthand, you can find The Chapmans posting regularly on their YouTube channel and, if you need help deciding which instrument is the right fit, you can always give them a call at The Acoustic Shoppe. Visit them online here theacousticshoppe.com