DEC. 6 I VENTURES I BY ZACH PHILLIPS
Vic's Drum Shop
Opens in Chicago
"I have to let you know how happy I am that you're here," said a beaming drummer to Victor Salazar. "I plan on buying all my gear from you from now on."
The customer was one of thousands who passed through Vic's Drum Shop during the Chicago retailer's grand-opening party on Oct. 29, 2011. Launched by Salazar, former general manager of The Drum Pad in Palatine, Ill., the new store is situated inside the Music Garage, a five-floor rehearsal facility for local bands. And during the party, Salazar could barely walk 10 feet without a customer thanking him for being there.
"There has not been a dedicated drum shop in the city of Chicago since 1993," Salazar said. "It was long overdue."
The grand-opening party featured a star-studded roster of clinics from drummers Terry Bozzio, Will Calhoun, Jimmy Chamberlin, Todd Sucherman and Chad Wackerman, among many others. According to Salazar, roughly 2,000 people stopped by during the seven-hour event. He noted that being in the Music Garage gives him a built-in clientele.
"There are 120 drummers already here."
Vic's Drum Shop features 10,000 total square feet of space, including 7,000 square feet for retail. The store is laid out as a series of different rooms, each one a particular department. The high-end and digital drum kit selections are displayed separately on the fifth floor. Salazar pointed out that the building's 12-foot ceilings give him a generous amount of display space. "For example, I am able to display nine kits in my stick room alone and an additional 15 kits in my drumhead room," he said.
A particular standout is the two cymbal rooms. According to Salazar, they house roughly 1,500 cymbals from 10 brands.
"The selection is staggering," he said. "Both rooms are sonically tuned with custom ceiling baffles to ensure that every customer can clearly discern what each cymbal sounds like as they audition it. Even the slatwall itself is custom-made in birch to match the rest of the store. No manufacturer-supplied stock slatwall was used. The rooms are as stunning as they are functional."
Salazar acknowledged that being a drum industry veteran made it "incredibly easier" to start his own store. He mentioned that his initial inventory purchasing for Vic's Drum Shop took only a matter of weeks, even though he was dealing with 68 manufacturers and a "million-dollar budget." And, he added, suppliers were supportive of a new drum shop, especially given the state of the economy.
"When other businesses are cutting back or closing locations, it seemed to be the time to go big and make a serious statement. It is risky. Opening any business involves risk, but I'm confident that our selection, quality of customer service and outstanding location will enable us to become a destination point." MI