By: Jennifer Britt
The Parsons Advocate
The Music Center: A Plus Guitars was founded in 1998 and nestled on Bridgeport Hill as a staple in quality music instruments, accessories, lessons, and repairs. When the original owner was ready to retire the opportunity arose for Zach Lilley partnered with Dave Stevens to take over the reigns as owners.
Lilley said, “The store that we have in Bridgeport has been there since 98. I started working there in 2005. The owner and I had been really close, and he always wanted me to take over one day. It was not financially feasible at the time.
I met Dave through another guy that worked in Bridgeport with me. They all hung out and jammed together. They grew up and went to school here together. Then I started playing in a band with Dave.
When my boss was really ready to give it up and retire. He through out a number that I thought so doable and feasible. Dave has got several businesses and I know a lot about the selling part of the business but some of the paper work and behind the scenes stuff was not my strong point.
So, I called him and said, “Hey, you want to buy a music store?’ He said yes and we started working on this the summer of 2019. By the time we got everything rolling, we purchased the business and in January 2020 just in time for a pandemic.
With the pandemic we were doing everything we could to keep going and build that business up. We repainted everything. We really tried to turn into something. In the process of doing and in a time when the supply chain was where you could not get a lot of stuff, we managed to do that.
We had a lot of stuff. Times were slow and we used to joke around with my boss saying we ought to open a second location in Parsons or Elkins. And that is how I was drawn to Parsons. Through Dave I met people and even played with the band at the park.”
Lilley and business partner Stevens began the journey of opening a second store in Parsons. The store is located in the Swartz Building owned by Muriel Nester. And over the many years has hosted many businesses from a car dealership to a hair salon and now a music store.
The new Music Center: A Plus Guitars offers a wide range of services for the residents of Tucker County and surrounding communities. They offer services in most instrumental repairs and servicing, church sound and PA installation, lessons for all ages and instruments, as well as the best prices in the area for any instrument.
Stevens said, “We are currently working towards offering lessons. We have eight instructors in Bridgeport. We give lessons on everything from drums, guitars, piano, keyboards, voice, and banjo. We give lessons on just about everything. We are signing up people who want lessons and once I get enough people interested, we are going to bring some of our instructions here to start lessons.
I would like to do some workshops, but I have to find the space. So, I am looking for someone that has an empty building or empty room. Somewhere where we could do something like a ukulele workshop where we could teach six or eight kids to play. Maybe do it six weeks, once a week, for an hour. I would go to other businesses and our venders to see what we could do about getting them to pay the instructor, not me but the instructor, and at the end give those instruments to the student.
We would do it with guitars or anything and it would not just available to children but to adults too. We really want to get the community involved. We do a lot with a lot of veterans’ groups We are registered through the VA (Veteran’s Affairs).”
When asked why did they choose Parsons, Stevens said, “Part of it is geography. There is no music store in Elkins. There is none in Oakland, MD They just closed the only one that was open in Winchester, VA. With Corridor H that leaves Petersburg, Moorefield and Keyser. There are no stores there either.
With over 50 years of teaching experience, the educated staff provides fun and knowledgeable instruction to students of all ages and ability in all instruments. The store is also one of the biggest for Eastman brand guitars on the east coast. Among others they also carry Angelico, Ibanez, Martin and Washburn brand guitars and Orange, and Luna brand amplifiers as well.
The service for church or store sound and PA installs includes setup and training as well as disposal of old equipment.
Stevens also explained that the store has a program that if a parent with a student in the band then they have two options available to them. One they rent the instrument for the year the student is in school. Second choice they can actually purchase the instrument with monthly payments that includes the price of the instrument plus tax but would not include any finance or interest charges.
The store had its grand opening over the weekend and patrons enjoyed live music, food, and drinks. Stevens wanted to thank the community for welcoming them and their business adventure. Lilley said, “We are excited about next year’s Pickin in Parsons. That was another reason we decided to do this because that is a great thing that they have done for a very long time musically. The thank you we would like to give out is to the community. They have been fantastic.”
Stevens said, “Muriel has rented up this space and Tim (Roy) has helped us so much. It has been really amazing. We did this open house today and someone from the Dollar General bought us hot dog sauce. The community has just been amazing to work with us. When you have support it makes it easier.” Stevens’ brother helped by painting and making the counters. Lilley and Stevens gave thanks to Adkins Home Center and the ladies at the Dollar General.
The Music Center: A Plus Guitars can be located at 514 1st Street, Parsons, and can be reached at 304- 478-8510 or online at www.aplusguitars.com or email@example.com. They are open Tuesday through Saturday from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.