BEST MUSIC STORE (LOCAL YOKEL) - 2001
Most music stores have a creepy vibe, usually darkened by the bitterness of the bald guy behind the counter whose keyboard gig with Whitney Houston in 1985 didn't quite pan out. Not so at Encore music, a locally owned business that has thrived through ups and downs since the 1960s. Chad Speck bought the store from his late boss's wife in November 1995, and since then the dank little store in the Wedge neighborhood has garnered a reputation as the place for good used gear. Speck will take equipment on consignment, for cash, or in an outright trade. The latter may be the best strategy, as Encore houses nearly 350 guitars and basses along with about 100 amps. Occasionally a decent drum kit or two will float through, as will a stray keyboard. But mostly it's guitars, amps, effects pedals, and cheap strings that drive Encore's business. Prices can range from a hundred bucks into the thousands of dollars, but don't fear a rip-off. Speck says he is more than willing to work out a deal: "I just want to give a fair price."