July 22, 2019

We continue our Dealer Spotlight Series with Armando Zuppa, owner of Penny Lane Emporium. Located in the heart of downtown Fort Lauderdale, this shop is set apart by its tailored private lessons and friendly service.

We met Armando at NAMM 2017, and were immediately impressed by the models he was drawn to— they were our most unique and best sounding instruments! When we sat down to chat about what he was looking for in a ukulele line, it was obvious we had to work with Penny Lane. He cared deeply about sourcing the best for the people of his community. Armando has an excellent eye for style and ear for the best sounding tonewoods, allowing him to source the very best for this sweet space.

Penny Lane Emporium has built a great reputation for incredible commitment to a quality experience - whether its purchasing your first instrument, your 100th ukulele, or you’d like to learn something new. If you’re in the Miami/Ft Lauderdale area, take an hour (or more!) and check out this warm space and knowledgeable team!

penny lane emporium armando zuppa

Image Source: Penny Lane Emporium Instagram

Company: Penny Lane Music Emporium
Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL
Name: Armando Zuppa
Position: Owner
Years at Company: 9
Main Focus: Acoustic instruments of the Americana Tradition, Guitars, Banjos, Mandolin, Ukuleles
Website: www.pennylaneemporium.com

How long has Penny Lane Emporium been providing great instruments and lessons?

9 years

What makes your space stand out?

Our big selection of ukuleles and all acoustic instruments as well as our personal approach to helping our customers find the right instrument for them.

Penny Lane instrument wall // Image Source: Penny Lane Emporium

Are there local South Florida Community programs you’re involved in?

We work with local schools and let them use our stage (yes, we have a stage in our store) for ukulele open mics. We also hold a uke meetup every last Thursday of the month for our uke friends in SoFlo.

How did you get started working with musical instruments?

As a seasoned musician myself, I wanted to work with music and not necessarily being on a touring band (been there when I was younger. It was fun but as I get older, I find it hard to keep up with the touring schedule and lifestyle).

I started Penny Lane Emporium as an online store only. After one year I was selling a few ukuleles and banjos online and struggling with having all that inventory in my 600 sq. ft. apartment. I was also teaching banjo, guitar, and mandolin at a local music school.

The decision became very clear: I needed a space where I could do all these things at once and it couldn’t possibly be my apartment! I opened Penny Lane Emporium in 2010 and had to move three times in the past 8 years because we kept needing more space for lessons and for inventory.

Any favorite tales from retail?

Béla Fleck and the Flecktones were playing at a venue near our store and Victor Wooten (only the best bass player in the world!) came in and after looking around, he pointed at a ukulele lamp we had for sale and said: “I’ll take that”. Next thing I know, there was a post on his FB page with a photo of the ukulele lamp in its new home: the Flecktone Tour Bus!

Favorite age to teach to, instrument to teach?

No favorite really, anyone who is into learning to play music is welcome here as a student.

Does Penny Lane have a studio space or stage?

Yes! We host concerts and workshops with any artist who fits the mission of the store, which is acoustic music of the Americana tradition.

We’ve had artists such as Alison Brown, Tony Trischka, Slaid Cleaves, Beppe Gambetta, Kenny and Amanda Smith, Mile Twelve, Kimo Hussey, Chris Pandolfi of The Infamous Stringdusters, Lil Rev, Stuart Fuchs, and many others come by and delight us with workshops and concerts in our intimate room.

Inside Penny Lane Emporium // Image Source: Penny Lane Emporium

What makes Ohana Ukuleles a good fit for Penny Lane Emporium?

We have the largest selection of ukuleles in South Florida so we must have those awesome Ohana Ukuleles! I like that all Ohana ukuleles have their own personality and sound. They are well built and well set-up and at the right price point.

We have a great relationship with the folks at Ohana, we love working with them and we love their ukes as well as the many things that Ohana does to support the ukulele world family.

Can you pick a favorite Ohana uke?

The SK-390 Series, sounds amazing, looks like a vintage Martin uke and the solid Koa top back and sides are a pleasure to look at.

Ohana SK-390 // Image Source: Penny Lane Emporium

For more be sure to check out Penny Lane Emporium at https://pennylaneemporium.com/ or peruse through their Instagram!