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Gibson Garage's GRAND Grand-Opening in Music City

by Rich and Laura Lynch

"It's an exciting time in Music City," said CEO and President of Gibson Brands James "JC" Curleigh in the moments before a ribbon cutting to officially open the company's new retail store and performance space in the heart of Nashville, Tennessee on June 9, 2021 (Les Paul's birthday). The GRAND day's festivities included opening remarks, live music all afternoon plus an evening event showcasing a global virtual concert.

CEO and President of Gibson Brands James "JC" Curleigh prepares to greet the media in Music City.

At the celebratory party that night, JC spoke about the legacy of Gibson which started back in the 1890's when Orville Gibson crafted his first instrument. James shared that part of his job is to make Orville proud. After all, Gibson is one of the most iconic guitar brands that has influenced generations and genres for over 100 years. Yet, Curleigh also touched upon the present and future giving an example of a 10 year old visiting the Gibson Garage and being given the opportunity to play an instrument. That youngster might not buy a guitar that day but years from now that same person could return to purchase a six string. One of many GRAND points about the new location is that it suits all price points. The options range from a coffee mug to placing an order for a custom guitar.

"Hope was our strategy," stated Curleigh who joined Gibson in 2018 the same year that the company had filed for bankruptcy. JC along with a dedicated team have literally resurrected the brand which had lost the essence of who they were. The guitar maker has returned to its roots with a focus on quality workmanship paired with a modern environment of creativity.

JC gets some help cutting the ribbon from Celisse, Brand President Cesar Gueikian and Gibson TV host Mark Agnesi.

"It started off with a simple question of where is the best guitar experience in the world and where would be the best Gibson experience and we couldn't answer it," Curleigh said. "You can visit our retail partners or go to a concert and see guitars being played. But, where can you truly go and hear about the iconic past and also see about the innovative future for of Gibson right here in Nashville?"

"So, we said let's open the Gibson Garage," JC continued. "It's a place to explore everything about music and Gibson. It's a chance to actually play every guitar." With more than 8,000 square feet there is plenty to explore but the first thing that most people will see is the moving conveyor belt of electric guitars in all shapes and models. In the center of the Garage is a glass case with original Orville instruments and a few steps further is a stage. There are bays for Epiphone, Kramer, KRK and Mesa Boogie. Some of the space is dedicated to repairs and restoration along with the Custom Shop. Also check out the warm wood tone acoustic guitar room. Fun accessories are available too.

Jordan Sromek, Retail Director for the Gibson Garage after receiving the building's keys from JC.

Gibson is also about investing in artists. The stage at the Gibson Garage provides a place for musicians to play live and perhaps film videos. Gibson has many long standing endorsement deals with established artists but they are also showcasing rising stars such as Jared James Nichols, Celisse and the duo called Striking Matches who we have seen at a number of Gibson events. The Garage is more than a retail space but also a spot to collaborate, create and learn.

Gibson executives revealed to Team MCN that plans are in the works to bring the concept of the Gibson Garage to additional cities around the world beyond Nashville once they road-test the facility in Music City. In the not too distant future locales such as Beijing, Tokyo, London, Sydney, Los Angeles, Chicago, Austin, Seattle and New York could also be opening the doors on sites of their own serving the artists in those music markets.

Inside the new Gibson Garage in downtown Nashville. (Photos by Laura Turner Lynch)

Another GRAND moment of the event was the premier of Gibson Live: A Celebration of Artists to Benefit Gibson Gives which was live streamed at the Gibson Garage and worldwide on Gibson TV. The footage featured performances from Warren Haynes, Margo Price, Kip Moore, James Bay, Sergio Vallin of Maná, Lzzy Hale and Joe Hottinger of Halestorm, Marcus King, Orianthi, Samantha Fish, Morgan Wade, Sadler Vaden, Tak Matsumoto, Celisse, Emily Wolfe, Jared James Nichols with Joe Bonamassa, and more. Donations from the concert will go to MusiCares - a safety net of critical health and welfare services to the music community, and Save the Music which helps children, schools, and communities discover their full potential through the power of making music.

Gibson Garage located at 209 10th Avenue South is in walking distance of downtown Nashville. The retail space is only a few doors down from the company's headquarters within the Cummins Station building. The Gibson Garage gives visitors the option to shop for or design their own guitar, explore generations of music history through interactive exhibits, and catch tapings of the award-winning Gibson TV series. The Gibson Garage is a GRAND destination for locals, musicians or tourists - so come on down and check it out for yourself.

At the Gibson Garage Live From VIP Reception & Party at Cummins Station.

Related Links: For more information on the GIBSON GARAGE and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links -- Gibson Garage | Gibson Grows Its Brand and Expands Corporate Footprint in Nashville | Gibson Garage Gets Ready to Open Its Doors in Nashville (Part 1) | Gibson Garage Gets Ready to Open Its Doors in Nashville (Part 2)


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