Expedition music store, owner that extends to more than music

The Harbor Beach music store has unveiled an expansion that will hopefully see it and its owner go beyond teaching music and selling instruments.

The Expedition Music Store has been working to expand its operations by moving adjacent to its original space to its first location, allowing more space to display instruments and allow musicians to practice. He hosted an open house and open mic from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., following the end of Harbor Beach’s Dinner Saturday event.

Owner Tony Schiappacasse first opened the store in June 2021, which was initially just one room and one bathroom.

“For the first three months it was enough,” Schiappacasse said. “Then word got out we were here, and the next thing you know I’m piling guitar cases on my head and the bathroom is full of packing supplies. Then I teach kids and ask people to bring guitars. There wasn’t enough room.”

The expedition will now take place in the space formerly occupied by Harbor Beach Chiropractic. There will be space not only to display instruments, but also to offer guitar, bass, drums and ukulele lessons. Schiappacasse also wants customers to take their time in choosing an instrument to purchase.

“I noticed people walking in, picking something out, and bringing it in without even trying it,” Schiappacasse said. “I came to the conclusion that they didn’t have enough to sit down and connect with the instrument before buying it. Many music stores these days will have signs saying do not touch. I wish more people would pick up an instrument and play it.

When Expedition opened with between $5,000 and $10,000 worth of merchandise to sell, it was gutted within weeks.

Schiappacasse grew up in Harbor Beach after his family moved to the area shortly after he was born. He attended schools in Harbor Beach and graduated from Ascent High School in Bad Axe.

Owning such a store was a dream of Schiappacasse, and although he always thought about it, he didn’t move forward until he lost his job because he didn’t come to work during a snowstorm. snow.

“I sat at home for a while with my head down thinking about things,” Schiappacasse said. “I thought to myself, ‘I don’t want to keep working 9-to-5 jobs that I’m not interested in, I want to explore my passion.’

Schiappacasse has hired another music teacher to help and is working on offering music-focused classes, like music history or an artist’s workshop where people can learn to write their own songs.

“We’re going to teach you the basic things you need to know,” Schiappacasse said. “If we want to teach someone drums, we want them to go home and play the drums in their own way and continue to grow as an artist.”

Growing up as a musician, Schippacasse would struggle to find other musicians to hang out with, which a music store can help with. The music store problem for him is they either stay open or they don’t, and other music stores in Harbor Beach have moved in and closed.

“It should have been a sign for me not to, but I need a different approach for the region,” Schiappacasse said.

Schiappacasse assigns the pieces that fit together for the store to the right place at the right time in different ways. For him, music is something that is attracting more and more interest in the region and which is again being pushed towards children.

When he was first looking for merchandise to bring to the store, he found another music store in Richmond, Michigan on Facebook Marketplace, where the owner closed it due to medical issues. He was able to acquire his shares for less than $2,000.

“It’s just a coincidence that just when I decide to open a music store, I opened Facebook and saw that there was a guy’s music store for sale”, said Schiappacasse. “A lot of things came together at the right time.”

Recording rooms are also in the works in the building, with a recording studio where people can record instruments or make podcasts, commercials or YouTube videos. Schiappacasse hopes to have these chambers ready in the spring.

Apart from the music store, Schiappacasse is also involved in organizing concerts around Harbor Beach through his company Lakelight Entertainment, which he started doing in October. Last weekend, his company performed a show with a Bob Seger tribute band called Katmandu at the Harbor Beach Community Theater, along with local band Huron Out.

Schiappacasse gave concerts when he lived away from Harbor Beach and he acknowledged that in the area there had never been a long-running concert series.

“Once every five or six years, we would get someone from a crazy place like Nashville, perfectly suited to the musical tastes of that area,” Schiappacasse said. “They had put on a show and for some reason no one would ever show up.”

While at present these gigs are scheduled only in Harbor Beach, Schiappacasse wants this business to expand where it can hold gigs all over the thumb and even transition to comedy shows with Michigan comedians. .

“If it works out well, I’ll end up bringing in a famous comedian that people know by heart,” Schiappacasse said. “Right now we’re pretty much, here’s a guy you’ve never heard of telling a joke. But that’s how we do something. You put on a quality event and do it enough times in a row, and they can trust him. Even if they don’t know who it is, they’ll still have a good night.

Schiappacasse also runs a charity where he strives to put instruments in the hands of children. He will get instruments and then find struggling families or people who could use music in their lives. They would get a free lesson and if they end up enjoying it and want to stick with it, they can keep those instruments.

Schiappacasse also mentioned that the Harbor Beach students stopped by the store and mentioned that the school doesn’t have any guitars, so when his next shipment of instruments arrives, he plans to donate some to the schools.

Alice P. Darby