You could say that, over its 25 years in business, this Saratoga Springs store has struck a chord with customers. And now it’s time to celebrate. Saratoga Guitar & Music Center, the Spa City’s only dedicated guitar shop on Broadway, is throwing a free 25th Anniversary Party this Saturday, October 5, from 4-9pm at the Saratoga Springs City Center. The party, which will include live music, raffles and a guitar/gear sale, will come on the heels of another big musical event presented by the store, the Capital Region Guitar Show, October 4-5, also at the City Center.
“The public has been very supportive over the years,” says Matt McCabe, Owner and Founder of Saratoga Guitar, which has a location and repair shop on Weibel Avenue in addition to its main store on Broadway (on the lower level of the Collamer Building). That downtown storefront, in particular, is so overstuffed with new, used and vintage instruments that it almost looks like a mini guitar museum. “It may seem like an odd business strategy, having two stores in one city, but I didn’t want to leave downtown,” says McCabe. “So we’ve done everything we can to keep a presence here, which has been working out nicely.”
Though Saratoga Guitar technically opened its doors in June 1994, McCabe decided to hold the anniversary event this month to piggyback on the Capital Region Guitar Show. Presented by Saratoga Guitar for the last 23 years, the guitar show is a buy, sell and trade event for guitarists and players looking to add some rare and/or vintage instruments to their collection. It’s actually one of the longest-running guitar shows in the country and is expecting around 30 vendors this year. “It keeps our name out there, and it’s a fun way for us to gather and hang out,” says McCabe. “It’s hard to get mad at a room full of guitars.”
Of course, Saratoga Guitar’s big anniversary event will feature lots of great music, including performances by five local groups—plus McCabe playing with local singer/guitarist Rick Bolton. (All funds raised from the event will be donated to local nonprofits.) And McCabe’s considering making the free concert a permanent fixture at the guitar show, as well as bringing back a guitar festival that Saratoga Guitar organized for several years in the early 2000s. “We had about 50 different stores hosting guitar players and performances in one day,” says McCabe of the festival, which mostly highlighted different styles of instrumental guitar music. “Anywhere you went during the guitar festival, you had people walking up and down Broadway carrying guitars.”
Though the revival of the guitar festival is still in its early stages, McCabe’s hoping to have it ready as a companion event to next year’s guitar show. Summing things up, McCabe says of his now 25-year-old business: “We’ve done what we can to keep our name out there. We’re very fortunate to be in Saratoga where there’s an active buzz going around all the time.”