Strings Cafe & Guitar Shop at 757 Dundas Street in Old East Village is as quaint and welcoming as it is unique. Nestled nicely between Rectory and English, on the north side of Dundas, this place is a dream for the caffeine loving gear head and general public all the same.
Owner Phil Kikuchi is a Londoner born and raised who opened the shop last year following his relocation back to the Forest City after 15 years in BC. Upon return, and acknowledging changes in the local job market, Phil used his immense experience in making, fixing, and selling guitars as well as teaching music, to realize the multi-faceted establishment that is Strings Cafe & Guitar Shop.
Regarding how it is coffee and snacks came into the mix, he told us "it gives parents something to do while their kid's in lessons and for the customer, it allows them to feel comfortable [here], not rushed out."
Touching on the demanding nature of owning your own business, Phil said things can be very tiring but at the same time, you build up resistance and find new solutions to problems. This is one of the many reasons he has diversified his business with so many offerings. Some of these include lessons, repairs, Open Mics Sundays, along with iced cream in the summer, on top of the usual guitar sales and coffee options.
Phil noted, "people aren't buying a new guitar every five minutes," so things like lessons and repairs have brought more consistency in revenue generation to this small and budding business.
But, for those out there who wish they could buy a guitar every five minutes, perhaps a peruse through Phil's stocked collection of recognizable brands as well as unique guitars, basses, ukuleles, and an array of other music-related goods is in order! Largely specializing in Yamaha, Phil also has keyboards, offers drum lessons and has rehearsal space in the shop's basement.
Strings Cafe, will be among the many businesses directly affected by the upcoming Dundas Infrastructure Renewal Project come spring. According to Phil he has "invested in this neighbourhood" and will continue "putting [his] money where [his] mouth is" by maintaining said investment.
"It can be hard to get people out of their houses... but it's what you have to do" he said, encouraging people to get out and see their neighbourhood and support the businesses along Dundas.
So, music lover, or maker, or not, mosey on down to Strings Cafe for a Sunday Open Mic, stop in for an impromptu jam, or for a simple cup of joe. No matter what the contribution, as Phil concurred, supporting local and supporting independent is key in helping a great neighbourhood like flourish for years to come, whether in or out of construction.
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