Family owned and operated musical instrument retailer, GAK are now celebrating its 25th year of business.
GAK started life as a humble market stall on Kensington Place around the corner from where the shop now stands today. Back then the shop was a one-man operation, inspired by a desire to challenge the culture of stuffy guitar stores. Having noticed the trend for unenthusiastic service elsewhere, Gary Marshall bought a book about vintage guitars, set up shop, and stocked it with his own guitar collection.
Gary admits, “when I came in I didn’t know nothing, straight off a building site I was a ragamuffin”, but Brighton wasn’t the music mecca it is today, Denmark Street was still dominating sales in the South, and Gary had to build his reputation from scratch.
Sure enough, his fresh and friendly attitude, and willingness to strike a deal propelled the business forward; the market stall moved to its first premises, and Gary hired his first employees. In its first year the shop saw such a substantial and steady increase in business that Gary knew he’d need to expand again.
Twenty something years later the GAK megastore now takes up a huge portion of one of the main North Laine concourses, visible from a distance through the vibrant and colourful streets of Brighton’s most famous district.
Now the shop and website support over 70 employees, and enjoy the role of being one of the UK’s most loved Musical Instrument retailers, both throughout Europe, with their comprehensive website, and in their hometown of Brighton, where the store has established itself as, as much a tourist attraction as the beach.
Keen to support local and national music, GAK has partnered with such established organisations as BBC, The Great Escape, The Brighton Fringe, BIMM, Access To Music, Download Festival and many more.
Now celebrating its 25th year of business, Gary maintains, “It just happened, I didn’t play anything out it happened organically, other people around me made it happen.”
GAK will be celebrating with a month of 48-hour giveaways online and in-store.