February 11, 2020

If you look at the established dates for Ohana and Uke Republic, you’ll see we’ve truly grown up with the ukulele world together!  We started getting to know this great shop and its curators back when Ohana was still operating out of the big kahuna, Louis’, garage.

Mike, Donna, and the team at this specialty shop are all about the ukulele and the spirit of “Aloha”.  Offering an incredible buffet of ukuleles for the eyes and ears, this shop specializes in finding you the perfect ukulele and making sure it sounds fantastic.

It has been wonderful growing with the incredible ukulele destination that is Uke Republic.  If you live in the greater Atlanta area, or happen to be visiting, don’t miss this shop and their passion for making music!

Mike and Donna // Image Source: ukerepublic.com
Company: Uke Republic
Name: Mike McQueen
Position: Manager
Years at Company: 13
Main Focus: Ukulele Specific Products, Community, Teaching

How long has your company been in business?

UKE Republic started in 2007, so we’ve been in business for 13 years this September.

What makes your store stand out?

We are known for our World Class Customer Service, and Professional Set Ups on all instruments we sell. We have the knowledge and use professional luthiers tools to provide the best set ups and pick up installations. We provide ukulele expertise, it's all we do and we have been doing it a long time!

Our passion for ukulele is unmatched, we put a lot of effort into making it an enjoyable experience when our customers visit our showroom or visit our website. We carry a vast selection of ukuleles and ukulele related items you don’t find anywhere else. We have a brick and mortar store located in an restored building that’s on the historical registry, it is just as unique as the ukuleles that we have on display. 

We are located about 25 minutes from the world’s busiest airport, Atlanta is the crossroad of the south. We have become a must-see destination for ukulele travelers from all around the world.
Our motto is “UKE Republic is the epicenter of all things ukulele ~ where friends are made and ukes are played!”

The Uke Republic Crew // Image Source: ukerepublic.com

Where will folks see you outside of the shop, are there community programs you’re involved in?

We support our local ukulele groups, the SouthEast Ukers, West Georgia Ukulele Ensemble, also the Ukulele Kids Club, Various Charities. We are vendors at Tiki Festivals, Polynesian Festivals, Art Festivals, Ukulele Festivals throughout the year. We’ve been vendors at the ever popular Tampa Bay Ukulele Getaway aka TBUG for 10 years now and we plan to be there for 2020. Also catch us at the upcoming Memphis Uke-N-Roll Jamboree in April and the Chatsworth (Georgia) Ukulele Festival in May. 

How did you get started in the musical instrument sales? 

Music and sales have been part of my life since I was very young so the marriage of the two were bound to happen. My mother insisted I take up the classical guitar, but as a 6 year old it was frustrating, so ukulele was a perfect fit and very satisfying. My father had a car dealership and so I worked there as a teenager in sales, which came very naturally for me. So with my background, I had the desire and saw a need to get this great little instrument into the hands of others. So back in 2007, My wife Donna and I started Uke Republic before the ukulele had regained popularity, which probably seemed odd to many of my friends and family members. Today, we are known throughout the world for the highest quality of ukulele expertise, variety of ukuleles and much more.

Any favorite tales from retail?

So many good ones! Well one that I’ll never forget was a lady who came into our shop with tears in her eyes. She explained that her tears were because she couldn’t believe she was actually in our shop, it meant that much to her! It was really a humbling experience for all of us that work at Uke Republic.

What amazes me still, is many of our customers make a special trip from such far away places, like South Africa, Japan, and Australia. We love hearing how they got on the ukulele path, and how far they’ve come, and how they found out about us. Even though we have had years of an online presence, most of our customers hear about us by a fellow uker that highly recommends us. That is the greatest compliment!

Image Source: ukerepublic.com

Favorite age to teach to?

I like all ages to teach! When you see and hear anyone play their first chord and then get a strum pattern down, it's amazing! That smile is genuine, they have now tapped into their musical side!

Studio Space/Host Performances/Regular Community-Open Events?

We have a weekly meetup for the West Georgia Ukulele Ensemble in our building open to all who would like to observe or join in. Through the years, we’ve hosted workshops and concerts of many popular ukulele artists like Craig Chee, Sara Maisel, Lil’ Rev, Petey Mack, Danielle Ate The Sandwich, Ukulele Russ, and Christoper Davis-Shannon to name a few! On occasion, we host open mic nights to give our talented local uke players a chance to show us how they have progressed. We like to always provide coffee and desserts for that cozy, intimate touch. Our uke friends sometimes bring home baked goods for the events as well.

Why are Ohana Ukuleles a good product for Uke Republic? 

Ohana has such a vast catalog of quality instruments, something for everyone.

They keep quality high while giving the customer a great value on an instrument that could last generations.

I’m impressed with Ohana’s balance of paying homage to the classics while keeping an innovative modern style. Ohana has pioneered a lot of ukuleles -- such as the sopranino, sopranissimo, Bari-tenor and so much more. 

Ohana thinks outside the box with their great choices in tonewoods with interesting trims and finishes. 

Wonderful accessories as well!

Ohana Artist Timothy James Band visits Uke Republic
Image Source: Instagram

Why do you enjoy working with Ohana Ukes?

Because they are wonderful people! Dealing with various companies over the years I’ve found Ohana to be consistent, stand behind their products and they support the ukulele community globally. They also listen to their dealers and what we would like to see in future models. 

Next time you attend a festival take a look at the sponsors, good chance you’ll see Ohana! 

We’ve worked with Ohana for so long, we’ve “grown up” together in the ukulele world. They put up with my last minute orders, and laughed at my corny jokes, so they are good people!

Can you pick a favorite Ohana model?

Wow, so many but I’ll just focus on one, the SK-28 soprano! The SK-28 is truly a modern classic. It's styled like the first ukuleles built in Hawaii and has such a full robust sound. I own one personally and often bring it with me when I travel. Donna loves all the Ohana pineapples but especially the PKC-25G. She loves the design and the warm tones of the glossy mahogany make it a sweet one!

Starting the day off right with his SK-28
Image Source: Instagram

For more, be sure to check out Uke Republic at https://www.ukerepublic.com/