Home Street musicians Lightning Joe’s Responds to Growing Demand for Guitars During Pandemic

Lightning Joe’s Responds to Growing Demand for Guitars During Pandemic


ARROYO GRANDE, Calif .– Millions of people bought a guitar during the pandemic, many for the first time. A family owned store in Arroyo Grande is here to meet growing demand and help people have a sad time and make it better.

“It’s a guitar wonderland,” said Michael Albertson as he picked up new strings for his bass guitar. “I could spend hours there.”

The owner got the nickname Lightning Joe for playing fast, but musicians who enter Lightning Joe’s Guitar Heaven like to take it slow.

“They’ve got rooms and rooms and stuff rooms,” Keegan Saltzman said. “I come and play the same thing almost every time I’m here because I really want to buy it.”

Joe Daoust and his wife Marelene have been in business for 38 years. Visitors from near and far are greeted inside a historic building at 100 E. Branch Street by a statue of Elvis Presley in a mom and pop boutique that rivals just about any store music anywhere.

“Some people come from the big cities and say, ‘Oh my God. Why are you here ? »Said Marélène. “And we’re like, we live here! This is where we want to be.”

Joe says customers travel long distances to purchase their vast selection.

“All over the world,” he said.

If you’re wondering how many guitars and other stringed instruments line the walls, believe it or not, it’s not as much as Lightning Joe would like. They have all the brands a player could want, but guitar makers’ supply chain and labor issues have slowed production down.

“When we’re fat and full we have 1,800,” Joe said. “Right now we have around 1,600”.

They say it’s their best year ever, thanks in large part to more people making music at home during the pandemic. Joe sees a recent study by an industry leading brand.

“Sixteen million new guitarists in America, according to them. According to Fender,” said Joe. “Looks like they all came here and bought a guitar. Haha.”

Marelene says the best part of going to work everyday for her is to be with her loved ones. All employees are family members.

“We feel very lucky,” said Marelene. “Very lucky.”