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Dealer Spotlight: The Ukebug

Let’s shine on a sweet spot in the heart of the US. The Ukebug is located on Lover’s Lane in Ohio— and run by one of the loveliest couples we’ve had the pleasure of working with— Greg and Barbara Brainard. This new shop is a space full of love, laughter and enjoyment of the ukulele and music— and it shows in their upbeat and joyful customer service. Customers can bank on having a relaxing space to try out as many instruments as they’d like; until the right one calls.

 

The team at Ohana has been super impressed with the innovative and unique photography The Ukebug has been able to conceptualize. This wonderful store has some of the coolest instagram posts out there, and check out this sweet video about finding the unexpected!

If you want a truly personalized ukulele finding adventure, surrounded by a family of music and ukulele love you’ve found it at The Ukebug!

Interviewee Details:

Company: The Ukebug

Name: Greg & Barbara Brainard

Position: Owners

Years at Company: 1

Main Focus: Ukuleles… and Shakerleles® too!

 

 

How long has The Ukebug been in business?

1 year

 

What makes your store stand out?

We operate our business out of our home. This offers a unique shopping experience when compared to traditional music stores.

The Ukebug Entrance   Image Source: The Ukebug

Our showroom is stocked with many different styles and sizes of ukuleles. There are very few duplicates, making the selection larger and more diverse. We believe that it is important for people to have the chance to feel, hear, and play these instruments in order to find the best match for their tastes and preferences. We truly believe “if you don’t love it, you won’t play it”. We strive to provide the time and the space for each customer to be completely convinced of this before considering taking one home as their own. Whether in the comfort of our living room, our scenic front porch, or our spacious rear deck, we invite visitors to relax in our country home setting to enjoy playing for a while.

Inside the showroom.       Image Source: The Ukebug

People do tend to want to linger longer as they enjoy playing and hearing clearly the different nuances of the sizes, woods, and finishes in a quiet and tranquil environment. Our home-based business allows us to accommodate for these extended times, providing business hours that are easily adjusted to meet our customers needs. This is all part of the Ukebug one-of-a-kind experience!

 

 

How did you get started in the musical instrument sales?

A couple of years ago, my wife and I began our journey with the ukulele. That is a story in itself, but our store was a dream that was born out of that story. Like most people, we bought our first ukulele at a local music store. We didn’t know much about them, not even what a ukulele sounded like when it was played. Left to our own devices, we fumbled around until we found one to buy.

 

As we grew to love this instrument, we quickly found ourselves wanting to see other ukuleles, perhaps of a little better quality. Being a guitar player, I have always been drawn to the beautiful wood types and finishes, so this admiration just naturally transferred over to the ukulele. While  we found many available online in unique woods, sizes, and finishes, we sadly discovered that finding any of those “pretty ukes” anywhere close to us was next to impossible. With the closest store to us over an hour away, we began to feel frustrated with the limited choices available.

Image Source: The Ukebug

Our own private collection did grow as we were able to pick one up here or there as we traveled for day trips or on vacations, but the choices were very limited still. As we looked around our home at our growing collection, the idea of a store began to take shape. With our own store, we could bring in a larger selection, not just for us but for others to see, feel, and hear. People might still need to travel to our “out-of-the-way” location in the country, but would that really be that bad? It’s beautiful here! So the Ukebug was born. A place of discovery for anyone that wants to see or hear more. More unique instruments than the limited inventory of the big box stores. More room to sit and get to know these fun little wooden creations. More opportunity to hear what they sound like without drums banging or electric guitars wailing in the background. A chance to look, sit, and enjoy. That is the Ukebug, and what we mean by “be cool. have fun. discover the ukulele”. We are here to chat, to play together, to learn together, and to enjoy the ukulele together.

 

Any favorite tales from retail?

We had a young man come to us that had a rather extensive musical background playing the guitar and writing music. Unfortunately he had some experiences that caused his musical years to come to an abrupt end rather early.  The thought of playing his guitar now seemed to carry the weight of those memories and only evoked sadness every time he tried to play it. He honestly thought he would never be able to make music again. His trip to the Ukebug was made with much trepidation as he knew of our excitement for the ukulele.  At our urging, he ended up picking an uke to try and that is when we all saw the “magic” happen! From his first strum on, he was able to enjoy music in a whole new way.

These fun, quirky ukuleles allowed him to easily make music once again. The result was the extreme opposite of what he anticipated – happiness, joy, and a freedom to create and enjoy playing music. He left believing in what we call the “universal law”, that all the best days start with the sweet sounds of an uke. What a wonderfully therapeutic effect from such a small box with 4 strings!

We love his story and the joy it brings!

 

Favorite age to teach to, instrument to teach?

We enjoy introducing people of all ages to the basics of the ukulele. We especially enjoy working with people that haven’t had much previous background playing an instrument.  You know, those who thought they would never be able to play an instrument but have always wanted to learn. Usually these enthusiasts are adults. Some are in their late 30’s or 40’s and others are empty nesters. There is no charge for these lessons, and we invite them to return to play and learn more as they progress or as they feel the need for more instruction.

 

Why are Ohana Ukuleles a good product for The Ukebug?

When we decided to open our store, based on our own experiences we had no other brand in mind but Ohana. The fit, finish, and the variety of wood choices all make Ohana Ukuleles stand out from the crowd. Both their high gloss finish as well as the smooth satin finish models are just beautiful. Ohana offers several all-solid wood choices that sound warm, look wonderful, and are available at an extremely reasonable price. These instruments come to us with setups that need little or no adjustments. What more can you ask for than a quality, great-sounding ukulele at a price you can afford! That’s why to-date we sell more Ohana ukuleles than any other brand.

Image Source: The Ukebug

 

Why do you enjoy working with Ohana Ukes?

As for Ohana as a company, we love working with them and they are very kind in working with us. As a new store, they took a chance with us and we appreciate their making us part of their Ohana! They stand behind their instruments and their services and are available to answer any of our questions. We are very thankful for their help in getting our business up and running and we look forward to many years ahead being part of the Ohana family.

 

Do you have a favorite Ohana model?  What makes it special?

We both love the CK-42, it is by far Barb’s favorite. Our private collection is rather extensive and this uke always seems to be the one she comes back to. It is the most consistent one we own. Sometimes when we pick up a ukulele it can sound really good, yet for some reason the same uke, the next time we grab it, just doesn’t fit our mood or our ears. The CK-42 always seems to be a perfect fit, sounding really pretty and feeling just right. There is something about the Rosewood back and sides, and the Sinker Redwood top bordered with a maple binding that all combine to make this ukulele simply beautiful. For us, this one is a keeper!

 

For more be sure to check out The Ukebug at https://www.theukebug.com/