Joe and Anne Guevara opened Oklahoma Strings in 1987 with a handfull of instruments, and a determination to make Orchestra a fundamental core of Putnam City Schools. We have grown to the point now where we are servicing school programs all over Oklahoma!
Like everyone else, we have taken a pretty hard hit from shutdowns. Because of our heavy focus on the schools, when the schools shut down, we shut down.
It is with heavy hearts that we have had to watch so many students stop playing their violas, cellos, violins, and basses. They've been depressed, discouraged, and without the in-person instruction so vital to learning to play these amazing instruments.
There is light ahead: In our incredible teachers as they embrace new methods and technologies to keep our kids playing!
That brings us to the hard part for a small business. Christo had to shutdown the business early in the year, like many other non-essential businesses. Embracing the positive, he dove into a plan to restore our rental fleet in anticipation of our schools bouncing back. We even hired a new assistant to work exclusively on repair work and instrument making!
Here's where we are: We need funding. The structure of our business has always been three-fold: Rent instruments to students, Sell instruments as they grow into full size, Repair instruments for the schools. At this point, sales have all but disappeared. Rentals have been sliced with schools staying remote. We are being forced to approach a new direction.
Our funding campaign is meant to cover some of Christo's original dreams for Oklahoma Strings and our young musicians in general. We are seeking to initially raise $30K in an effort to curb the strong hits we've taken, while avoiding the extreme option of further loans. We've made it half-way to being a debt free business, and we are so close (2.5 years) to making it a reality!
Here's the breakdown of what your contribution will help us achieve:
1. Taxes. Even being closed, even with paying rent, utilities, fees on inventory, and more, we all still have to pay taxes. It is amazing how fast your emergency fund disappears when revenue is cutoff!
2. Complete the launch of our OSVS 100 and 200 lines of instruments. We've prototyped them, and sent out a few, even filled a few early orders for them. Now we'd like to start offering them in earnest to the public. There's something truly unique about playing an instrument, properly made, and properly set up by a certified luthier and professional violinist in Oklahoma! These are wonderfully made instruments with target pricing for the beginner (trying to keep them between $600-900) and high school/college student (around $2000). We've sourced some amazing carbon fiber bows made to our specification, and have plans for both in-house student instruments as well as imported "raw (unfinished)" instruments.
3. Complete the training of our new assistant and launch our shop as a true Violin Maker's Shop. (Where we can have a steady flow of new Oklahoma Made instruments!!!!)
4. Launch an educational program and forum, in partnership with local teachers, to educate our educators through free hands-on workshops for all things related to the repair and upkeep of the violin family.
Thank you everyone for all your support through the years. We for many more years of continued excellence in repair and now making. Culture and music are two things our society so often takes for granted. Help keep the gift of music active in our communities through continued support of all our local musicians, educators, and artists!
Oklahoma Strings Violin Shop
- Amy Potts
- Tara Israel
- Elizabeth Sloan
- Jill L Spangler
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