In Tune With Music Lovers

Scotty Shapiro
Owner, Scotty’s Music House

Please tell us about your business. Scotty’s Music House is a full-line music store. We concentrate on ukuleles, but we carry a variety of other instruments including guitars, electric pianos and percussion, as well as PA equipment, lesson books and additional musical necessities. We represent all the major brands. I opened this business in 2001 in Kalaheo but recently moved to Lihue.

Why did you move to Lihue? I purchased the building, so it’s an investment. I was leasing in Kalaheo and I decided Lihue would be a great central location for my business. This 1948 house was built and lived in by war hero Masao Tamura. This location is what we call quaint — an old plantation home with its own character that’s really nice to come to work to, serve coffee and help people find what they like. I found re-motivation in the last year, and the new location has inspired me because I own it. It’s a great investment, and I really enjoy coming to work.

What brands of ukuleles do you carry? We carry a large selection of Hawaiian-made ukuleles. Our most popular brands are Makala, Kanilea, Koaloha and from Kauai, Island Ukulele, made by Raymond Rapozo. We also carry imports and the popular names there, too.

Why did you get into the music business? I learned how to play keyboard and piano, and I wound up finding work in the music business at a piano store when I was 24 years old. I opened my first music store in 1980 in Ventura, Calif. It went gradually from being a piano/keyboard store to being a full-line music store, and then became the largest music store in the area by the time I sold it in Being in the Southern California market is everything you can imagine, as far as difficulty is concerned. It was profitable, but there is so much more that goes along with running any business in the L.A. area. Kauai, as we all know, is a paradise, comparatively speaking.

What inspires you to get up and go to work every day? I like to be productive and we serve a great purpose.

What is your secret to long-term business success? To offer the best selection at the best price.

What sets your businessapart from others? We pass on great savings to our customers — better than the Internet, in most cases. We are definitely a better value than the Internet. We look at prices online while we’re here and keep computers here for that reason. We shop the major players, we see what their sales price is and then we, in most cases, give a good reduction underneath that.

Why music? I like music. It’s enjoyable and you see the benefits it brings to people. So when I give a family a musical instrument that can really enrich their lives — something they can keep their whole lives — and I see them put a lot of effort into it and gain a lot of satisfaction from it, it gives me satisfaction.

Do you still play any instruments? I play piano and guitar.

What’s the most rewarding aspect of having this business? I stay very busy. It’s enjoyable because of the interaction I get with the community and the people. It helps me plug into the community. It’s fun to talk to a whole lot of people every day.

What’s the most challenging aspect of having this business? Paperwork.

Do you have any upcoming musical events? The top-selling guitar brand Taylor Guitars is doing a free concert here at the store with Wayne Johnson, a guitar player for Bette Midler who also has played for Rikki Lee Jones and Manhattan Transfer, Oct. 6 (Monday) at 5 p.m.

Open Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
3-3319 Kuhio Hwy., Lihue (across from Walmart)