Elderly Instruments is a musical instrument retailer in Lansing, Michigan, United States. It specializes in fretted instruments, including acoustic and electric guitars, banjos, mandolins, and ukuleles. Elderly is known as a premier repair shop and a locus for folk music including bluegrass and “twang” music. The firm is one of the largest vintage instruments dealers in the U.S.
About Elderly Instruments in brief
Elderly Instruments is a musical instrument retailer in Lansing, Michigan, United States. It specializes in fretted instruments, including acoustic and electric guitars, banjos, mandolins, and ukuleles. Elderly is known as a premier repair shop and a locus for folk music including bluegrass and “twang” music. The company operates a wholesale record distribution business, Sidestreet Distributing, in the lower level of its complex, serving more than 300 small retail businesses. In 2005 it was the subject of a lawsuit by Gibson Guitar Corporation concerning trademark infringement. In May 2010, an Elderly manager told TWICE that economic recession had affected the business and forced layoffs of part-time employees, and that Elderly’s effects were being worsened in the effects of the recession. The firm is one of the largest vintage instruments dealers in the United States, and is a major dealer of Martin guitars in particular. It is recognized internationally for its services and products; its mail order and Internet business account for 65–70 percent of its total revenue. Elderly grossed USD 12 million in 1999, and by 2007 was grossing USD 17 million annually. In addition to retail and repair services, Elderly Instruments has a selection of odd or rare instruments. It also provides consignment services for rare and vintage instruments.
The company does not, however, sell merchandise through online auction sites such as eBay, unlike many other independent musical instrument retailers. It operates 35,000 square feet of space, and operates in around 30,000 sq ft of space in the Lansing area. It was founded in 1972 by Stan Werbin and Sharon McInturff, his college friend and business partner, in a building that also housed the Michigan Youth Politics Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to encouraging young adults to vote. Werbin took the name Elderly from a 1971 classified ad they saw, in which the seller marketed his Gibson Les Paul as a \”nice, elderly instrument\”. In 1975, it expanded into the mail order business, and in 1994, it began taking merchandise orders over its new web site. In 1994, the company expanded again by buying adjacent building space that had once been a post office and a National Cash Register Company building. In 2000, it moved into a new building that was renovated for retail use, and the company moved into it in January 1984. It has become known due to its attention to its niche music markets, its selection of vintage instruments, its reputation as a repair shop, and its position as a major Martin guitar dealer in the U.S. and its reputation for being a major player in the bluegrass music scene.