Phillip Kikuchi - Strings Guitar Shop

Tell us about yourself

I was born in London, Ontario, in 1977. My parents separated when I was 5yrs old, and I went in and out of foster homes residential schools. I started playing guitar at 10years old, began teaching guitar at 14 years old, and 30+ years later, I’m still teaching. I’ve also been composing and performing throughout Canada for 32 years throughout that time and spent most of the time living in Vancouver, honing my survival skills being a musician in the big city. In 2013, I got married and went to music school at Vancouver Community College. In 2018, I returned to London with my wife and three cats.  

Tell us about your business

I started the guitar shop out of frustration in finding credible employment. Also, the need to have a music shop closer to downtown was apparent. I always thought a guitar shop would be great if it served coffee. So, from the beginning, it made sense to have that as a great way to build customers relationship and different revenue streams.   

How has Covid affected my business?

Covid has been both a difficult and a learning experience. We have adapted by creating a great website and switched to online service. Also, Covid restrictions and two summers of construction in our area affected the business. 

What were some of the challenges you faced getting started, and how did Small Business Centre help you overcome them?

Being completely new to business ownership, they have provided my wife Natasha and me with great coaching through different programs. Such as the small business grant and advice throughout.  

We literally ran out of money when we opened. Starting a guitar shop with six Guitars on the wall and six boxes of strings made many people probably laugh at what I thought was a guitar shop. But combined with coffee shop, it allowed me to offer a variety of other revenue streams, such as selling ice cream in the Summer. 

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