Down Home Guitars Moves on Up With Expansion
The downtown Frankfort music store continues to grow with its concerts and plans to expand into upstairs space in the Trolley Barn.
When Down Home Guitars owner Steve Haberichter opened his shop, he was living out his dream. Modeled after a favorite music store in Telluride, Colo., Haberichter searched the Southland area before settling on Frankfort and the Trolley Barn.
"There's this place called Telluride Music in Colorado," he said. "It's a little shop set on the main street of this old 1800s mining town. It's got the old wood floors and all acoustic instruments. I saw that, and I thought, 'This is what I want to do'."
A native of Orland Park and a graduate of Columbia College, Haberichter opened Down Home Guitars in 2008 and is now preparing for the second expansion of the store. He recently acquired part of the second floor of the Trolley Barn and will be remodeling it to provide multiple lesson rooms, a classroom and more.
"This is going to give us a chance to offer different things at different times," he said. "Right now, I can only do one student at a time for private lessons. I want to be able to add teachers and more classes for adults and kids and maybe start small ensemble classes."
Haberichter also plans to add lessons for drums, piano and possibly orchestra instruments.
While the space is now his to work with, Haberichter said he's only in the design phase of the expansion. Formerly home to the Polka Dots and Ponytails party business, Haberichter knows he'll need to add some sort of soundproofing, address the open ceiling issue and work on dividing the two large open areas into individual lesson rooms and a classroom, in addition to repainting the currently colorful walls.
But he's nothing if not flexible. Although he had a vision for his shop when he opened in 2008, he's adapted to the needs of his business.
"I never planned to get into concerts," he said. "But my friend (bluegrass musician and member of the band Special Consensus) Greg Cahill called me and said, 'I've got a friend in town who's a Grammy-winning banjo player. Can we come do something at your shop?' "
An impromptu concert evolved, and the banjo player ended up telling other musicians that it was a great place to play. Suddenly, Haberichter's shop was an intimate concert venue.
"It just kind of took off," he said. "But it's been great!"
On Sunday, Down Home Guitars welcomes the new year with a 7:30 p.m. concert with Cahill, guitarist and Down Home instructor Maro Kawabata and Don Rigsby of Lonesome River Band. The trio will play traditional bluegrass and old gospel favorites.
"It's a cool compilation group," Haberichter said. "You never know what's going to happen because it's like a group of old friends getting together to jam."
At the concert, Haberichter also will be promoting Bluegrass on the Green, the free two-day blue grass festival July 9-10. Special Consensus, The Hillbenders, Sunset Drive, Steve Smith, Chris Sanders and other musical acts are scheduled to play and lead workshops. Down Home Guitars is accepting individual and corporate donations, in addition to selling event T-shirts at the shop.
Cahill, Kawabata and Rigsby Concert
When: 7:30 p.m. Sunday
Where: Down Home Guitars, 11 S. White St.
How much? $20
More info: Call 815-469-6321 for tickets. You also can sign up for winter session guitar lessons and make donations to the Bluegras on the Green festival.