OREGON – No one can ever accuse John Lindhorst of not thinking big.
Sure, the Oregon business he owns – Ukulele Station America – is housed in a 208 square foot building. But that successful little shop is about to get a bigger neighbor.
Lindhorst said the plan now is to break ground by early May on the Oregon Music Garage, which will be built just north of the Ukulele Station America building at 10th Street and Rt. 64.
“My goal is to have the shop open by fall,” Lindhorst said.
The Oregon Music Garage will be a 2,000 square foot space housed in a unique building that Lindhorst said is not really a barn or a shed, but will be a post frame building with some upgrades. It will also have garage doors on one end and be, “very industrial and cool looking.”
Lindhorst said it will be built about 30 feet north of Ukulele Station America and will extend along Mix Street. There will be parking, a patio and maybe even a firepit.
But Lindhorst wants to be clear on one thing: Ukulele Station America will stay put.
“I want people to realize, Ukulele station America and the little stone building will continue as is,” he said of the popular business, opened in the summer of 2015.
The idea behind the Oregon Music Garage is to offer instruments other than ukuleles. Ukulele Station America will still be a space full of ukuleles and some lessons and meetings could still be held there.
But the Music Garage will house acoustic guitars, banjos, mandolins, dulcimers, world percussion and other “folky” stuff, Lindhorst said. And yes, there will also be ukuleles there.
“I may have a few electric guitars,” he said.
The space will include and entryway, two handicap accessible restrooms, a second level private office, a workroom for inventory and a large showroom. Lindhorst said he hopes to have a stage area in the showroom, possibly something that can be moved.
“Once it’s built, I’ll be able to figure it out more,” he said.
Brands that will be available in the new store include Fender, Gretsch, Deering and Gold Tone banjos and mandolins.
“I’m not trying to be the guitar store, the banjo store,” Lindhorst said, adding that he wants to attract people who are looking for something special.
With a possible performance space, people might wonder if Lindhorst is bringing back the live music he used to have in the 80s when he had the Washington Street Mercantile and Coffee House at 221 Washington St.
“Maybe a little,” he said.
But there is still a lot that has to happen between now and then on a project Lindhorst said was a big one for him.
“This is the biggest financial project I have ever undertaken,” he said, adding that the people at Union Savings Bank in Mount Morris, where he got his loan, were great about making this dream come true.
Once the Oregon Music Garage is up and running, he said he might also start doing Internet sales, something he has thus far avoided. He said he is trying to find a way to make buying an instrument from him more personal.
“It’s not a pair of socks,” he said.