Capitol Hill’s only dedicated music gear and guitar shop is closing.
The folks at E Pike’s High Voltage announced the store’s closing Friday morning. Not all is lost — Higher Voltager Guitar And Amp Repair will live on in a new home inside E Pine’s Capitol Loans:
“As a result, soon the guitars and amps at Capitol Loans will be AWESOME,” the announcement reads. There is also a “cash only” gear sale at the E Pike location today and Saturday.
Chris Lomba and his partners opened High Voltage in the summer of 2012. “If it has strings, we can fix it,” Lomba told CHS. In 2014, we talked to High Voltage about the challenges of keeping a store catering to rockers and musicians open as Pike/Pine’s entertainment economy shifted toward food and drink. With three years left on its lease, the shop was diversifying its offerings adding a workshop area for Tanner Brewer to work on guitars and amps while Lomba and Pam Stermin worked to build community around the business by bringing in bands for live music events.
But last spring, a “for lease” sign went up as the partners began looking for somebody to take the space off their hands. Despite the massive presence of Capitol Hill Block Party right outside its front door and Neumos across the street, High Voltage has now decided to shut the shop and focus the business on the more successful repair side of things.
Lomba tells CHS he is excited to move forward with Brewer on the repair venture at Capitol Loans and that the exit from E Pike will be made more smooth for the original partnership thanks to a new tenant picking up their lease. 910 E Pike doesn’t seem likely to rock in the future, however. The next business to call the shop home will be an upscale clothing retailer.