Although he bought, traded and sold guitars out of his home in the early years, it wasn’t until 1982 that Dave Rogers rented a 400 square foot space in a vacant dental office in La Crosse, Wisconsin, and Dave’s Guitar Shop was born. Armed with a love of guitars and a knack for business, Rogers moved the shop to a few other locations as the business grew, but settled at its current location (1227 S. 3rd St.) in 1993. The facility was expanded to nearly 21,000 square feet in 2000. Now, with over 2500 guitars in stock, Dave’s Guitar Shop is one of the largest independently owned guitar stores in the Midwest, and still growing. 2017 marked Dave’s Guitar Shop’s thirty-fifth anniversary.
DGS is a pilgrimage to many who come to marvel over such an enormous inventory and, of course, to buy, trade and sell. However, they also come to see the product of twenty-five years collecting vintage instruments: Dave Roger’s personal collection, which is open to the public to view. This ever-expanding collection includes over 300 vintage guitars and approximately 100 amps, and it features a stunning array of custom color Fender Stratocasters, Black Guard Telecasters, dot-neck Gibson 335s and so much more. For instance, the collection includes a 1959 flame topped Gibson Les Paul, a very rare find, for which current market value is somewhere between $300,000 to $500,000.
The general, guitar-enlightened public isn’t the only demographic that knows the magic and reputation of DGS. An impressive list of guitar legends and nationally (even internationally) known recording artists and performers has visited or purchased guitars and amps through the shop. Some of these notables are Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top), Joe Walsh (Eagles), Eddie Vedder (Pearljam), Rodney Crowell, Vince Gill, Michael Martin Murphey, Elliot Easton, Faith Hill, members of Pink Floyd, Kentucky Headhunters, Little Big Town, Everclear, Night Ranger, REO Speedwagon and Def Leppard. The Rolling Stones once bought an amp for Keith Richards, and in 2004, at the original Crossroads Show in Dallas, a 1954 custom Gibson Les Paul was sold to Eric Clapton. It was a particularly proud moment for Rogers, an accomplished blues guitarist himself, who has always held up Clapton as a favorite influence and personal hero.
In earlier days, the shop relied on a loyal local customer base and the bulk mailing of large quantities of monthly fliers to advertise the shop’s inventory. That all changed with the dawn of the Internet, the availability of personal computers and web sites. Although local loyalty is still an integral part of the success of DGS, the business has gone global with Internet and telephone sales making up approximately 70% of total sales. The days of licking stamps have been replaced by the simple click of a mouse. New inventory is updated daily, including high-resolution color photos of each new instrument or amp. All this can be found at www.davesguitar.com.
Dave’s Guitar Shop is a dealer of scores of product lines including Fender, Gibson, PRS, Hamer, Rickenbacker, Gretsch, Ibanez, G&L, Victoria, Vox, Peavy, Matchless, Crate, Savage, Ultrasound, Martin, McPherson, Larrivee, Taylor, Guild, Ovation, Alvarez, Washburn and more! Prices range from $100 to $35,000, which means there is something for everyone and every level…from beginner to collector. Some manufacturers, such as Fender, PRS and Taylor even made custom runs of twenty-five guitars for the store’s twenty-fifth anniversary.
In November of 2007, guitar innovator Paul Reed Smith visited the shop to help celebrate its silver anniversary. After an exciting day of questions and answers, receiving lines, autographs and handshakes, he presented Dave Rogers with a very special gift…a PRS one-of-a-kind guitar that he had personally made.
Today, Dave’s Guitar Shop is a bustling retail hub, staffed with over a dozen dedicated employees, technicians and sales consultants. Ever present within the walls is Dave himself, the life and blood of the shop, always willing to talk guitars and say thanks to a customer. It was his vision and passion for guitars that brought DGS to the present and it’s his vision that will see it through the next twenty-five years. Dave’s Guitar Shop invites you to come and see…and be…part of its history.