Hispanic Musicians Flock To Pasadena Store
— reported by Click2Houston.com
Requintos, bajo quintos and bajo sextos fill the jam-packed Guitar Stringer shop in this growing working-class city.
Accordions painted the red, white and green of the Mexican flag occupy a display case, and songbooks for Los Tigres del Norte share shelf space with Fleetwood Mac method books at this music shop.
Once catering to Anglo industrial plant workers, Guitar Stringer owner Robert Stringer estimates that 70 percent of his customers today are Hispanic musicians. In response, the store carries Spanish-language DVDs, guitar straps decorated with the Mexican flag and a line of accordions, an instrument popular in Hispanic bands.
With everything from congas to large, round-backed guitarones on sale in Houston stores, the boost in business from Hispanic musicians is helping local music stores compete with Internet retailers and music store chains. Just across the street from Guitar Stringer, a Wal-Mart store sells a guitar for less than $100.
But musicians still shop at independent retailers where they can easily try out instruments before making purchases.
Some are professional musicians, who perform at area restaurants, clubs and parties.
“They can make a decent living out of it,” Robert Stringer said of the local artists.
Others simply enjoy playing, and many perform at their Spanish-language Christian churches.
About 40 percent of Parker’s customers are Hispanic, said Kroger, who advertises in English and Spanish to tap into both markets. Her customer roster includes bongo-buying musicians and disc jockeys in the market for turntables and microphones they will use at quinceaneras for 15-year-old debutantes.
Kroger hires bilingual salespeople and repair technicians to better serve Spanish-speaking customers, who often fill the store on Sundays, when entire families shop after church.