By Matt Bennett
Music stores can often seem overwhelming. You walk in and some Neil Peart wannabe bangs away on a showroom drum set at a Rush concert volume level. Guitars worth more money than any local musician’s ever seen hang like platinum records all over the walls. The phones ring and employees talk over an intercom. Luckily, the new Baton Rouge Music Exchange certainly feels and definitely sounds different.
Conveniently tucked away off Perkins Road, in the lively Southdown’s area, the locally owned shop looks more like a cool-neighborhood hangout than a music store.
“What I wanted to do is bring back how shops used to be,” said Baton Rouge Music Exchange co-owner James Fogle. “I grew up in those shops. And now there’s no more shops in town and there hasn’t been for a long time where people can come and just hang out and interact with other musicians.”
Just a few short minutes from LSU and downtown, this musician’s haven also provides customers with a great selection of new and used musical equipment along with numerous efficient services.
Like an ordinary music store, they of course carry guitars, drums, amplifiers, strings and sticks, however Baton Rouge Music Exchange also operates partly as a consignment shop. Let’s say you want to part ways with your Fender American Stratocaster. Instead of meeting a potential buyer in a parking lot with your $1,000 guitar, Baton Rouge Music Exchange will show it and sell it for you right there in their shop. This allows the seller a safe, practical place for their gear, and the buyer the opportunity to test out the equipment before making a purchase. In addition, Baton Rouge Music Exchange also buys used gear, does trades, instrument repairs and offers music lessons.
While music certainly earns the headlining slot, zoom in and you’ll see owners Ryan Clark and James Fogle’s vision for helping local photographers and artists out too.
“We’re totally encouraging local photographers and local artists to come display their work and they can put it up in here for sale and we’re not charging them any kind of consignment fee to do that,” said Fogle. “And we are going to be having some small house shows and things for local bands and local musicians. We definitely want bands to come in and bring their merch, bring their CD’s, their T-shirts, and their stickers– same thing with artists and photographers. We aren’t going to charge them any kind of fee to do that.”
Across the street from Mary Lee Donuts and decked out with comfortable barbershop chairs, Baton Rouge Music Exchange definitely sports a laid back, fun and optimistic vibe. It’s a place where musicians can talk about their new favorite records. It’s a place where local bands can perform. It’s a place where the Baton Rouge music and arts scene can thrive.
“We want to help the local scene out here. That’s what it’s all about. It’s all about being the local scene,” Fogle said.
Having been open for just two weeks, the response so far has already been “overwhelmingly positive,” said shop employee Adam Planche.
Currently open 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and by appointment Monday, come checkout the Capital City’s newest, local hit – Baton Rouge Music Exchange.