Music is a powerful artform that innovates, inspires, and brings people from all different walks of life together.
Local musician and business owner Mike McAvan hopes that Music on Main, his new guitar shop and café, will be an outlet for all this and more. Located at 7 Main Street in Huntsville, the guitar shop is now open for sales, and McAvan is aiming for the café to be in operation by mid-September.
McAvan builds and sells custom guitars and also carries quality guitar brands such as Fender and Teye. The shop will also offer a variety of guitar paraphernalia such as Fryette amplifiers, MJS pickups, and extreme isolation headphones, as well as consumables such as picks, strings, straps, and capos. McAvan will also be selling personally designed t-shirts that will, as he says, “play off the traditional Muskoka look, but make it punk rock.”
Visitors to the café will find Granite Roast coffee from Muskoka Roastery Coffee Co., as well as breakfast items, sandwiches, baked goods, and even some dinner options such as Moroccan chicken, Thai curries, and lasagna.
McAvan hopes to keep menu options reasonably priced but most importantly, healthy and homemade. “I want to encourage people to make healthy choices and have healthy food,” McAvan says. “This café will be a faster way for people to get good, wholesome food.”
The shop will also be a place for the community to spend time, drink coffee, eat food, converse with others, or play guitar.
“Come hang, come experience,” McAvan says. “I want this to be an inviting musical hub. Not just a guitar shop, not just another café, but a spot where people can come and just immerse themselves in the sounds of John Coltrane and Miles Davis, or Poison Idea and Napalm Death, or whoever.”
McAvan will be teaching guitar lessons and hosting workshops on a variety of guitar-related topics including guitar maintenance, how to build a pedal board, and how to get the “star sounds”, demystifying the sounds of music greats like Eddie Van Halen, Jimi Hendrix, and David Gilmour.
“I’ve been lucky enough to have a great career in music,” McAvan says. “I’ve been well respected around the globe and I want to give that knowledge back to everybody, ‘cause it’s not a mystery, you have to work hard, you have to apply yourself.”
Mike McAvan with some of the vintage guitars for sale at Music on Main (Hilary Hilton)
McAvan will also be hosting live music nights at the shop twice a month, and anyone can sign up. He is hoping to attract a variety of performers and for the night to become an outlet to showcase local talent.
“I want to appeal to everybody,” McAvan says. “Whether it’s someone with an acoustic guitar, a DJ who does electronic music, spoken word, or someone on the piano with a voice. Something different for each set.”
McAvan will also host story nights, or “coffee with Mike” nights, as he calls them, with himself and musicians he knows from the industry to tell stories and talk about music. “We’ll kick back, tell some road stories, have some laughs,” he says.
One example of the type of stories McAvan will have to share is one about a major catalyst for the birth of the shop.
“My biggest inspiration for this place was I had the unique opportunity to hang with Darrell Abbott–Dimebag Darrell from Pantera,” McAvan says. “We endorsed some guitars together and there was a trade show and we got back to our hotel and we were sitting outside and were having a couple Jacks and Coke and he said ‘Y’know Mike, I just wanna buy a place, an old music shop, an old pawn shop or something, an old bar, an old café, whatever, kick back and watch the world go by.’ And that has always stuck with me.”
McAvan had a great deal of help with the development of the shop, particularly from his good friend and local musician Chris Wagland, who helped with the renovation process from the very beginning. “I could not have done this without Chris,” McAvan says. “This place has his stamp in it and he will definitely be a fixture here.”
Jill Taylor, McAvan’s partner, and her daughter have also been huge supporters for him throughout the entire process. McAvan would also like to give credit to Shane Cloutier, the rep for his vintage guitar line, Juan Barbosa, who helped with renovations, James Westgarth, who did the building’s plumbing, and Jamie Lockwood, the shop’s real estate agent.
McAvan’s hopes Music on Main will become a place where the community can come together, an inspiring and accepting venue for everyone from experienced and professional musicians to youth and beginners. He also hopes it will help set him up for retirement and become a legacy for his family.
“You spend the money, you take the risk, in the hopes of helping your family out. This is a very family-oriented choice, that’s important to me,” McAvan says. “I also want to give the community someplace to come, someplace different, and make a destination for this town… Everyone is welcome through that door.”
For more information, McAvan extends the invitation to visit him at 7 Main St. W., Huntsville.
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