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Inside GC's new Sarasota, Fla., location

GC Opens in Sarasota, Expands Lessons Program

Guitar Center opened its newest location in University Park, near Sarasota, Fla., on Feb. 24. It's the dealership's second retail store with a music lessons program and rehearsal facility — dubbed Guitar Center Studios. To celebrate the opening of the 14,200-square-foot space, GC hosted a grand-opening weekend, offering gear giveaways, free events, and guitar and drum essentials up to 89-percent off list price.

Guitar Center Studios features music lessons for all ranges of students, beginner to advanced, as well as Pro Tools, Logic Pro and GarageBand courses. Rehearsal spaces are fully equipped with backline gear, and musicians also have access to a digital recording of their rehearsal sessions. According to a statement from GC, Guitar Center Studios will be the most modern and affordable lessons and rehearsals facility in Sarasota. The location also features GC Garage, which offers on-site guitar repair services. Throughout opening weekend, musicians could use GC Garage's services for free with the purchase of any guitar worth $500 or more. This included a 22-point personalized setup, strings and parts not included.

"Over the past several years, we have tested a number of new design and merchandising principles and placed greater emphasis on high-technology products," said Gene Joy, GC's executive vice president of stores. "A new point of emphasis is on interactive software and recording demo stations with over 200 of the hottest software titles fully demoable in every store, something that no other retailer offers. In addition, our new stores feature Guitar Center Studios lessons/rehearsal spaces and open layouts that yield improved traffic flow and more room for customers to test-drive products in a comfortable environment. Our new Louisville and Sarasota stores are the culmination of this hard work, and the additional stores we open this year will incorporate most of these new features."

As part of the grand-opening weekend, GC also produced a series of Guitar Center Sessions in Sarasota. These included an event with Dave Elitch, drummer for The Mars Volta, on Feb. 25; "Music Creation 101 on a Mac," featuring GarageBand and Logic Studio, on Feb. 26; and an event with Guitar Hero's Marcus Henderson on Feb. 27.