The closure of Platinum Records on E Pike is another moment of change for the entertainment culture of Pike/Pine. Those still rocking like High Voltage music and repair shop might feel like they’re the last ones standing.
“We don’t have everything under the sun but it’s really cool that the community wants this place to succeed,” said Pam Sternin.
Sternin says many phone calls she receives are people asking if High Voltage carries certain equipment before they buy from Guitar Center. But the abundance of musicians and music lovers and lack of stores and repair shops on Capitol Hill keep High Voltage buzzing with business which is getting better as the store moves out of its infancy.
The owners have transformed the space in the past two years taking DIY to heart. They added a new wall and stairs to a second floor full of desks and equipment parts where Tanner Brewer repairs amps.
Brewer used to run his own amplifier repair business but has more clients to keep his schedule full now that he works out of High Voltage. He is currently going to school to learn more of the craft and is also a mentor to another younger musician who is interested in the repair side of electronics. Right now they are working on a DIY fuzz petal made with parts from Radio Shack.
It becomes inevitable running a Pike/Pine business for some shenanigans to play out. One of the most memorable customers was an intoxicated man who started slamming his hands on a guitar trying to play it but only making a racket.
“He was wasted so who knows if he remembers any of it,” said Sternin.
Co-owner Chris Lomba intervened trying to get the guitar out of his hands but the guy insisted he would buy it. After Lomba won the tug of war, the guy whipped out a wad of cash and paid for the guitar to Lomba’s surprise.
The three owners have three years remaining on their five-year lease agreement. CHS was there in the summer of 2012 when High Voltage opened its doors.
“Everyone is having a bowl of condos for breakfast,” said Sternin uncertain about the future after the lease is up.
The staff at High Voltage were able to see the potential of the space when they rented it out to Capitol Hill Block Party earlier this summer. CHBP held interviews and local band performances through out the weekend.
Sternin, Brewer and the owners want to make the storefront becomes more of a community space rather than just a shop and repair facility. Part of that means finding new ways to bring people into the space. The store is holding an art walk party Thursday at 6:30 PM to help kick off the effort. The live music will end by 9 PM because of the apartments above.
Stop by High Voltage Thursday for the party or to check out the selection. Be sure to say hello to their friendly orange kitty Ohm who lives in the shop.
High Voltage is located at 910 E Pike. You can learn more at highvoltagemusicstore.com.