It’s now been a year since October of 2019, when Bourgeois Guitars entered into a partnership with Eastman Music. Though it hardly seems that 12 months have passed, much has happened in that time. Please allow me this opportunity to update some of our headlines.
Covid 19 Blues
In early April, in compliance with local Covid 19 lockdown regulations, Bourgeois Guitars suspended regular operations. After remaining closed for six weeks, roughly half of our production staff was allowed to return to work, and within a few weeks, we were fortunate to be able to recall the rest of our team. Employees are now required to wear masks, have temperatures taken upon entering the shop, work at least six feet apart, and regularly clean commonly used surfaces. Those who can work from home still do whenever possible. Employees showing potential symptoms are required to stay home, a rule that even I have observed. I’m happy to report that, to date, we are all infection-free.
During the months of March and April, a number of our orders were abruptly canceled. Others continued to trickle in. We were somewhat taken off guard, however, when that trickle turned into a stream, which then turned into a torrent. We have always known that playing acoustic guitar is a quality experience that can be pursued indoors or outdoors, alone or with others. It turns out that like bicycling, cooking, and hiking, guitar playing seems to have gained popularity during the pandemic – a quality diversion, perhaps, from the phenomenon of remorseless screen-time overload. Indeed, most guitar manufacturers seem to have experienced a similar increase in demand. Another explanation for the torrent, however, lies in Eastman’s recent efforts to distribute Bourgeois guitars into new European and Asian markets.
Growing to Meet Demand
As a result of current demand, Bourgeois Guitars is now back-ordered until well into next year. Our response has been threefold. Recently we hired several additional full-time luthiers, increasing our headcount by about 20%. Needing room to grow, last month we took over adjacent manufacturing space which we are currently upgrading to meet our climate-control requirements. Lastly, we are in the process of filling much of that space with new equipment. Before the end of 2021, we expect to engage in a second round of expansion.
A New Website
We’ve also been busy on other fronts. Marketing Manager Tom Adamowicz, in close collaboration with others at Bourgeois Guitars, has spent much of this year designing and launching a new website which we hope will serve as a useful informational tool for our past and future customers, our dealers, and anyone wishing to learn more about Bourgeois Guitars. Several new items of interest are: a database of guitar specifications searchable by serial number, an improved photographic database of recently shipped guitars, an online Warranty registration portal and an online merchandise store which over the next few months will be populated with an ever-growing list of new items. We are excited to offer you these new features and plan to launch additional website improvements over the upcoming year.
A Cornucopia of New Products
Much of 2020 has also been spent developing a variety of exciting new products slated for introduction throughout 2021. Though I am unable to go into greater detail at this time, new product categories include a series of guitars aimed at lower price points, new model additions to our high-end guitar line, and mandolins. Stay tuned!
In conclusion, we are fortunate to have survived these difficult times. We are pleased to have been able to create new local jobs, expand our local real estate footprint, purchase new equipment from American suppliers, consume more raw materials sourced from domestic suppliers, and supply our dealers with products that their customers are excited to purchase. We recognize that many other businesses have not been so lucky. We look forward to the promise of an effective Coronavirus vaccine, hopefully in the not too distant future, and to improved treatments. In the meantime, we wish for all to safely co-exist in these difficult times so that businesses may return to normal. Our fingers remain crossed.
Thank you for your continued support.
Founder and CEO,