We caught up with owner Bill Welker to learn more bout one of Austin’s most iconic music stores.
South Austin Music was established in 1986. Yes, that’s right, we have been here at the same location for 33 years. The owner Bill Welker attributes the success of the store to the relationships that have been developed and grown since day one. We are quite aware that Austin is a special city with an amazing live music scene that stands out worldwide. However, a store like this cannot exist without the support of the local music community. Through the years we have always provided an eclectic place to shop as well as instrument and electronic repairs and of course music instruction. We buy, sell, and trade but we also fix and teach. We have served our wonderful community with the best possible service we can provide and we always will. Remember to always support your local music stores and local musicians. Please stop by and experience what Austin musicians have embraced for years.
There are many things unique about South Austin Music. One of our biggest assets are the people that work here. Aside from the owner, everyone is a musician with both playing experience and retail experience which helps us to help you. You will never find ego or bias that would get in the way of providing you with the best possible buying experience. We are generally upbeat and always happy to see you so come by and say hello. Our goal is to build relationships with our customers because we know without you we would could not exist.
Why music retail? How long have you been in business?
I worked for some really cool folks who owned McCarty Music in Wichita Falls for 6 years while I got a business degree. I enjoyed helping musicians so I thought I’d try it on my own. Here I am 34 years later and still enjoying it.
How has your individual approach and skillset affected your store?
Well, we’ve been told we’re very friendly. No room here for grumpy folks!
How do you weigh/qualify potential staff members?
Everyone who works here was a customer first. I got to know them before I offered them a job. Drive and attitude are important, the rest can be learned.
What was your favorite or most notable instrument to pass through your store?
A 1944 Gibson “Banner Logo” Southern Jumbo. It’s still here. I must be asking too much for it 🙂
Have you had any famous artists walk through your door?
I think everyone is famous or one day will be. But If I have to name drop Robert Plant and Dave Grohl are pretty cool dudes.
When and how were you drawn to music?
Paul Rodgers and Mick Ralphs pretty much kicked my butt back in the ’70s. Well, it was either them or the weed.
How do you define success and how do you measure up to your own definition?
You’re successful when you are a happy person. I work on it everyday 🙂
If you were a musical instrument, what would you be?
That’s easy, a guitar. And if I could be any guitar…. Stevie Ray’s strat!