Welcome to the #HOMETOWNHUSTLE – a SweetwaterNOW exclusive series where we highlight hardworking individuals in our community.
This week, I had a chance to catch up with Dave Jensen. Dave and his wife Galene are the owners of the last standing music store in Rock Springs – and there’s a reason they’ve survived as long as they have, as Dave told me, “It’s all about how you treat your customers.”
Pickin’ Palace sells a large selection of instruments, from beginner to pro-models. They sell guitars, drums, keyboards, digital pianos, ukeleles, band and orchestra instruments, and music accessories for all instruments.
In addition to their instrument selection, they service all instruments and rent band and orchestra instruments for school. Plus, they also offer guitar and bass lessons!
Dave has been a musician all his life and some of his fondest memories growing up are visiting his local music store, hanging out and chatting with local musicians about the local music scene, and in Dave’s words “finding people to jam with.”
“I guess I wanted to create a store with that same vibe.”
And that’s exactly what he’s done…
Check out some of these glowing Facebook reviews from locals…
“Love the Pickin’ Palace! My family has been going there for years! Bought all my band supplies there, took guitar lessons from Todd there. Got my first guitar there. When in Seattle they helped me get my mom a great guitar for her birthday as a surprise. Great people to work with! Dave, Gay and Todd are amazing and the rest of the gang too! I have always loved going and seeing what unique instruments they might have in the store and if you are looking for music they will help you find it.”
“I love this store. I love the family that runs it. I trust them with all matters, music. Additionally, I can’t tell you how many times that they have hooked me up, or helped me out, in one way or another, free of charge. Also, it matters to BUY LOCAL. Music makes all the difference in our world. Go see Dave & Gay and family. Great people + Great Store = AMAZING MUSIC!”
“If you are looking for an instrument or need anything music-wise, make sure to stop in and talk to the Pickin’ Palace crew!!! For several years they have been helping us out even if it’s the last minute. They have extremely competitive pricing and stand behind their work!!!”
For Dave and Galene, one of the first and biggest challenges they had to face when opening up Pickin’ Palace in 1995, was being able to afford employees.
In the beginning phases of Pickin’ Palace Dave was working for Questar and could only work at the store after work and on the weekends.
Dave ended up asking Galene to quit her job at the YWCA, and luckily she agreed and ended up being the main employee until their longtime employee (and son) started, and the rest is history!
The #HometownHustle series is made possible by:
For years, Pickin’ Palace was located in the Plaza Mall on Dewar Drive and when I asked Dave about his most satisfying moment in business so far, he didn’t hesitate a bit. “When we were able to buy the Fanelli building (their current location) Downtown and move out of the Plaza Mall, swapping our rent payment to purchasing payments.”
Dave’s favorite part of being a business owner is just simply having the freedom that comes with owning your own business. But he did remind me of the perks of working for someone else. “There’s something to be said for a steady paycheck and health insurance,” he said with a laugh.
For Dave and Galene, business success is all about creating loyal customers, making friends, learning from one another. and providing music to people who otherwise would not have the opportunity to play. They truly have created a community of music lovers in Sweetwater County.
Throughout the years, Dave and Galene have learned one very important lesson among others that they’d like to share with aspiring business owners:
“Listen to your customers, and let them guide you in your business decisions.”