A Day in the Life

April 15, 2016 2 Comments

A Day in the Life
What's it like to run a guitar store...or at least, Five Star Guitars? Well, it's probably not what you think. What is typical about my typical day, is that there is no such thing as a typical day.

But, if there's one thing we see most often on job applications, it's a comment to the effect of, "I wanna work in a guitar store because I think it would be so fun to get paid to sit around and play guitar all day long."

Well, sorry to disappoint, but even as the owner of this business, that's not what I do. Actually, counterintuitively, it might be more accurate to say that I did a lot more of that before working in a guitar store...

6:03 AM: I'm up! I'm up! I haven't yet trained my kids to let me sleep in. This time, it was the two-year-old who was hungry. Today's the day they spend with Grandma and Grandpa, who will be here at 8:00, which is good, because...

8:00 AM: Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce Small Business Council meeting. Thanks to my friend, Tyler, from Insomnia Coffee for bringing me a latte. Or, at least, my first latte of the day...topics for today's SBC meeting include recent state legislation, and the upcoming Business Walk where we interview local businesses about how to make Hillsboro better for small business.

8:57 AM: SBC meeting adjourned, I head home. This is the day that my "shift" begins at noon, (har, har!), so I'm gonna go see my kids while I can, since I'm meeting another owner, Geoff, at 10:00 at the home of a lady whose husband had a lot of gear and recently passed away. When I get home, the four-year-old wants to ride his bike so we make a few laps around the neighborhood.

10:14 AM: We should be meeting the daughter here at 10:00 AM, but it sounds like she works nights and the doorbell isn't waking her. Nobody else is home. I guess we'll wait for awhile and go to...

10:31 AM: Shari's. Geoff gets some food, I get more coffee.

10:49 AM: Success! Daughter is awake and we're on our way back to the residence.

11:01 AM: Geoff and I begin sifting through a garage full of music gear. Sometimes, this is very exciting, because you never know if you'll find an old tweed amp, or what might be hiding in that case over there...but not this time. This is a garage full of low- to mid-valued gear, most of which needs a little TLC before we could sell it. We take pictures and notes, and tell the daughter we'll be in touch.

11:13 AM: Now to the Tanasbourne shop. And emails. There are a lot of emails.

11:37 AM: We have a new guitar teacher coming onboard, and I have to prepare his contract so we can review it tomorrow. Also, I have a stack of about 50 invoices to enter into QuickBooks, and Dorian called from our Main Street shop asking about the features of an old Rivera amp for a Reverb.com customer.

 12:12 PM: Amp described, some invoices entered, checks printed. Mail pickup here is 12:15, so I have to rush out to drop the checks in the mailbox.

12:24 PM: One of my personal guitars was here at Tanasbourne that Pat O'Donnell wants to use for the Doug and Pat Show. They're a great pair of local Gibson enthusiasts, but they want a Strat with P90's. I have..er...made, one. He wants to pick it up today at Main Street, so I'm going to transfer it for him. Also, some cool new guitars came in on trade, so I'm going to take this opportunity to grab photos for online listings (our only photo booth is at Main Street). I have to be done by 2:30, though...

12:37 PM: Leave Tanasbourne and head to the Main Street shop. Listen to the new Deftones on the drive over. I wish my car stereo was louder.

12:58 PM: Arrive at Main Street. Dorian wants to show me a new feature he enabled on our web site. Discussion includes words such as ruby, variants, sku, csv, and coffee. Dorian runs on coffee, too.

1:18 PM: Set up photo booth, and take photos of a Martin, an Epiphone Dot, two Strats, and a few pedals. I do most of our online photography with my iPhone. My favorite app is Camera+. I message Pat that the P90 Strat is here.

1:26 PM: While the photos are getting watermarked and uploaded to our Cloud drive in the background, I write the first part of this blog.

1:41 PM: Enter more invoices into Quickbooks. Bills, bills, bills. Also, I see that I recieved an email, while I was driving between shops, from Karen Guth. She's a business advisor that I am working with via the SBDC, and I have a 3:00 appointment with her today. She wants me to print out some reports from QuickBooks, and review the attachment she sent. It's 17 pages.

1:56 PM: Invoices are done, and I've printed, though not read, the attachment Karen sent. Before I print our QB reports, I want to make sure all accounts are reconciled. I've done our checking account already, but I need to make sure the two credit cards on file are up to date. 

2:14 PM: No problems reconciling accounts, and reports have been printed. I load the Martin, Dot, Strats, and pedals back in my car. I'll drop these off at Tanasbourne on my way to meet Karen. 

2:21 PM: Driving. Listening to the latest Esperanza Spalding. I like her. I still wish my car stereo was louder. Have I had lunch yet? 

2:27 PM: In the drive-thru at Insomnia. Bagel and a latte. Back on the road.

2:40 PM: Drop off the instruments and pedals at Tanasbourne. 

3:01 PM: I am almost on time to meet with Karen. She and Molly Moore work with PCC (Portland Community College) SBDC (Small Business Development Center) on coaching small businesses. Today, we're looking at financials and planning. Topics include Turn, Profit & Loss, Balance Sheet, Quick Ratio, Assets/Liabilites, etc.

4:15 PM: Back to Tanasbourne. A film crew is here to grab footage of our shop in action; it will be used in an upcoming promotional video for the Chamber of Commerce. We all sign waivers and smile for the camera.

5:03 PM: Film crew is done. I see an email from Molly asking about a quote for a PCC press release on our recent award. The SBDC nominated Five Star Guitars for the SBA Oregon Business of the Year, and we won. I sure do owe them a nice quote...

5:15 PM: My four-year-old does gymnastics right up the street, and Grandpa brings him by the shop afterward for a treat. We head to Trader Joe's to find the monkey. Monkey found, treat acquired.

5:34 PM: Our luthier, Ian, is back from vacation, and catching up on repair jobs. We chat briefly about a 1964 Gibson LG-2 acoustic we acquired. I remember him finding two loose braces before he went on vacation; now he can only find one. We discuss a small chip of wood missing from the bridge near the saddle, test the truss rod, and verify the originality of tuners, frets, and the nut. Aha! There's the second loose brace! Upper bout, treble side. 

6:05 PM: Geoff emerges from a lesson studio, having just finished teaching his last lesson for the day. He's checking his email on his phone, and then greets me with a smile. He's heard back from Mesa Boogie, and it's confirmed that Five Star Guitars is one of the few "Mark of Excellence" dealer award winners for 2015. Awesome!!

 6:06 PM: Back to the invoices. I thought I was done earlier today; then I remembered to check my inbox here. *sigh*

7:00 PM: Time to close up shop. Unusually punctual, everyone gets out on time and the till and card machine all batch out correctly. Another day in the books!

7:29 PM: Speaking of books...after matching the day's transactions in QuickBooks, I am packing up to head home when I see a text from Grandpa. Both kiddos have had their bath and are in pajamas, reading books with Grandma.

7:45 PM: Upon arriving home, my wife greets me with a latte and tells me that she has to head back to work for an hour. She works at Intel, and although you hear about Intel work schedules being a soul-crushing-all-consuming endeavor, my wife has been there 11 years and manages her schedule incredibly well. This almost never happens, but night shift needs her to come fix a problem with a build that can't wait. I don't even know what that means.

8:09 PM: Grandma and Grandpa have left, and I have two tired and confused little people...they are exhausted from a fun day with the Grandparents, but while they're excited to see Dad, Mom and G&G have left simultaneously and that's not okay. Now...how to get two unhappy little critters to go to sleep...?

8:34 PM: My four-year-old is tired, and falls right asleep without much fuss. But the two-year-old? She WANTS MOMMY RIGHT NOW!!!! 

9:02 PM: After laying down for 30 minutes with a tiny person who wishes I were Mom, she relents. But then, so do I. We are both asleep, sharing a tiny twin bed.

9:35 PM: My wife is home. I wake up enough to remember I still have some coffee that might be okay after a zap in the microwave.

10:00 - 11:00 PM: My wife and I catch up on the day while sharing coffee and watching a pre-recorded Survivor episode.

11:00-11:30 PM: Play guitar for the first time today.

2 Responses


April 22, 2016

You guys have a great store! All the hard work you do “behind the scenes” makes a difference. We can tell.

Chris Carlson
Chris Carlson

April 22, 2016

Jeremie, congrats on the Small Business award. It’s well deserved. And I think what you guys have done with this shop is fantastic. I also think it’s great that you make time for your kids in the middle of the day. That’s something most of us can’t do. Thanks for sharing the busy-ness of your day… and I wish you continued success in business and life.

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