Local Business Spotlight: Archie’s Guitars

The team at Archie's Guitars cuts up in front of the shop's van. Jason Underwood (right) is the owner of the store and a longtime Heights resident.

The team at Archie’s Guitars cuts up in front of the shop’s van. Jason Underwood (right) is the owner of the store and a longtime Heights resident.

Editor’s note: The following is part of our series featuring local businesses. We believe everyone has a story to tell. If you know a business or neighbor who should be featured, email contact@heightspark.com.

Admit it: you’ve played air guitar in front of a mirror at least once in your life. Probably way more than once. Well, you are in good company. For those of us who have considered taking our rock star dreams to the next level, Archie’s Guitars in the Richardson Heights Shopping Center is here to help. Jason Underwood, a longtime Heights resident and passionate musician, opened the all-things-guitar store about two years ago.

Named for the Underwood’s family dog, Archie’s is a welcoming, family friendly shop that emphasizes customer service. Jason recently took time away from stringing guitars and sifting through spreadsheets to answer some questions about the Heights neighborhood and the store.

You’ve lived in the Richardson Heights area for quite a while, right? What do you love about this part of the city?

I grew up in this area — specifically a Brentfield Elementary/Parkhill Junior High/Pearce High School kid.  When my wife, Claudine, and I moved into to the Heights neighborhood in 2003, we were drawn to the older homes, large lots and trees. More than that, we immediately clicked with all the folks in the neighborhood. We moved in as the “young” couple as many of the neighbors were original builders from the ‘50s and ‘60s. Since then, our daughter, who graduated from Richardson High School, is now a sophomore at the University of Colorado Boulder, and our son is currently a sophomore at RHS. Now we are the “old” folks!

When did you start playing guitar (other instruments)? What do you love about playing music?

I started playing guitar around fourth grade. I was completely hooked on music from as early as I can remember. The first album I bought was in first grade — a 45 of David Bowie’s “Fame.” Music listening and album buying haven’t slowed down 45 years later.

When you were growing up, where did you get your gear? Was there a store like Archie’s that inspired you to open your shop?

I started taking my first guitar lessons around 1979 at a local independent shop called the Music Haus, which as it happens was located across the street from where Archie’s is now. I really loved that “local” shop feel even then. I also spent many days riding my bike up to Prestonwood Mall and going to the Melody Shop.

I meet lots of folks my age now that come into Archie’s with their own Melody Shop stories. It was a great chain. But as the ‘90s hit, many of the great independent shops as well as the Melody Shops of our area all went away. It was an ambition of mine starting around that time to open an independent music/guitar shop like the ones I enjoyed so much.

What sets Archie’s apart from the competition?

Archie’s was put together on the emphasis of customer service first. That goes back to the early ambition I had to one day open a local, independent shop like those I loved so much from the ‘70s and ‘80s that are now mostly gone in our area.

At Archie’s I’ve brought in a select group of guys who not only have the right experience but the right attitude that seems to be lacking these days especially in “those” guitar shops. Not only in terms of sales but that attitude also carries over to our service and lessons. Our repair technicians have a great reputation and treat each guitar regardless of value as if it is their own.

What recommendations do you have for someone who is interested in learning an instrument — guitar, bass, ukulele, etc.?

Take a chance and try! Don’t be intimidated if you’ve never even picked one up before — you will be surprised at how much you can pick up with the right teacher. At Archie’s, we have a select group of instructors who I brought in not just because they are great players, but because they are great teachers and communicators.   They all do a great job of identifying the individual student’s likes and leanings and build a plan from there — not just a one-method approach. We offer lessons for guitar, bass, ukulele, keyboards and even banjo.

What are the three most-popular items you sell?

In terms of volume, we move a lot of brand new Yamaha acoustic guitars at $199.99, Blackstar starter amps at $99.99 and Jackson electric guitars starting at $149.99. In terms of popularity, our line of Chase Bliss pedals are true high-end effects pedals, along with EVH (Eddie Van Halen) Wolfgang guitars and Orange Amplifiers are sought-after items.

In addition to teaching lessons, making repairs, and selling gear, y’all occasionally host concerts, right?

Now that the weather is warmer, we will continue to feature live acoustic music in front of the store, usually on Saturdays. We are planning our big two-year anniversary blowout for the end of the summer as well.

What else should people know about Archie’s?

More than anything, Archie’s is about the experience and the relationship with anyone that comes in. We operate Archie’s to be not only a shop for you to stop in and pick up a guitar and try out new gear but also to be able to be on a first-name basis with any and all of the guys here — a place you can trust no matter what level of player you are or want to be.

Local Business Spotlight: Haystack Burgers and Barley

Heights Park residents the Galvans — Kevin, Jenny, Kallie and Lindsey — and Maddie Moo, the mascot of Haystack Burgers and Barley.

Heights Park residents the Galvans — Kevin, Jenny, Kallie and Lindsey — and Maddie Moo, the mascot of Haystack Burgers and Barley.

Editor’s note: The following is the first in a series of features on local restaurants and shops.

burger-haymakerSeveral great restaurants and shops surround Heights Park. Many of them are family-owned, providing us the opportunity to dine with neighbors in our neighborhood. One such restaurant is Haystack Burgers and Barley in the Richardson Heights Shopping Center.

Heights Park residents Kevin and Jenny Galvan opened Haystack in April 2013. Kevin’s family has generations of restaurant owners. The Galvans had a vision: a different kind of fast casual restaurant with amazing fresh burgers and fries. They decided to open a burger joint in Richardson because everyone loves a good burger and it’s something people will eat more than once a week.

They wanted to open their business in the neighborhood they love and have lived in for almost 15 years while raising their two daughters, Kallie and Lindsey. They saw a need in the neighborhood, and they went for their dream!

Lindsey came up with the name Haystack after driving by a field of hay bales one day. The name stuck, and they eventually added “Burgers and Barley” on to the name to begin their journey.

Jenny and Kevin ran many of their ideas on restaurant décor past Kallie, who has impeccable taste and is always happy to offer a helpful opinion. They could not be happier with the look and feel of Haystack.

Some of the items neighbors have enjoyed, besides one of Richardson’s best burger, are the fried pickles and the Haymaker — a unique frozen drink made with orange juice, lemonade, iced tea, Maker’s Mark bourbon and an orange slice on top. When Kevin and Jenny first developed the recipe, they went door-to-door to their neighbors on Winchester to see what changes needed to be made. Feedback from residents of the 600 block of Winchester tweaked it to what it is today!

Haystack is family-owned and they make each customer feel as if they are a part of the family. Grab a neighbor and check it out!