Parrish Music & Gifts, a family run music store in Viroqua, celebrates its 10th anniversary this month.
Started as a small retail shop and teaching studio, Parrish Music has grown to be a destination folk shop for musicians and fans in the Driftless region. An all acoustic shop, the store is renowned for its stock of unusual and interesting instruments. Ukuleles and parlor guitars are specialty areas for the store. Husband and wife duo Ted and Catherine Parrish own and run the store — a true “Ma and Pa” operation. In addition to sales on the showroom floor, Parrish Music features group and private lessons, instrument rentals and a repair shop. Added in 2015, the gift department has broadened consumer appeal and brought new revenue into the store. Both Parrishes teach at the store on multiple instruments. Guitar and ukulele are the most popular, and the couple uses method books that Ted has co-authored and published with Native Ground Press. The Parrishes are also experts in parlor and small guitars.
“We both play and prefer the tone and comfort of smaller guitars, so we made a conscious decision to only stock those,” says Ted. Catherine adds, “too many people end up with a guitar that is just too big, so we help them find the right fit.”
The Parrish family moved to Viroqua from Chicago in 2007 to escape the big city life. Calling on years of retail experience, Catherine and Ted opened Parrish Music that same year. They expanded to a storefront on Main Street in 2009, a tough year to open a business, but they have thrived. Summers bring tourists to town, and the store today is very artistic and thoughtfully merchandised with an eye for beauty.
“This space was formerly an art store, so the walls were painted these amazing colors that we kept,” says Catherine. “We get a lot of comments. The stock is also carefully thought out.” Ted explains, “This is a rural area so our traffic flow is light. So we have to be very careful with every single brand and each model we carry, making sure they fit our mission and land in our target price points.”
Both accomplished musicians, Ted and Catherine began performing as a duo in 2007. They write and perform original music, and their first CD was released in 2016. Their second CD is in the works, and the pair continue to perform around the Upper Midwest.
Power Hour, Nov. 6
Learn everything about Small Business Saturday, how to order free and customizable materials and what Viroqua plans to do to celebrate. Bring your lunch and learn at Peoples State Bank in downtown Viroqua from noon-1 p.m. in the lower level conference rooms. If you have questions about this event, please visit the Viroqua Chamber Main Street Facebook page or call 637-2575.
I&E Club, Nov. 8
The Inventors and Entrepreneurs Club meets at the Food Enterprise Center, 1201 N. Main St., Viroqua; networking starts at 5:30 p.m., followed by the program at 6 p.m.
Guest speakers will be Angie Lemar, program director at Recycling Connections, and Mary Christenson and Stephanie Brown, Growing For Good, a social enterprise of Pleasant Ridge Waldorf School. For more information, contact Sue Noble at 608-638-8332 or email@example.com, or the Chamber at 608-637-2575 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hospice Gala, Nov. 9
The Vernon Memorial Hospice Gala is approaching quickly. It’s a special event this year, as VMH Hospice will be celebrating 35 years and VMH Home Care will be celebrating 25. The event takes place at Olde Towne Inn in Westby. For last-minute tickets, contact Donna Nelson at 637-2101 or visit the VMH Facebook page or website, www.vmh.org.
Author visit, Nov. 11
The McIntosh Memorial Library of Viroqua will be hosting an author presentation. Join them on Saturday, Nov. 11, at 1 p.m. in the conference room as Viroqua author Marcia Halligan reads excerpts from her first published book titled, “Hidden in the 13th Moon.” The book showcases stories from the author’s journals that describe animals in her life and experiences she has had in nature.
For more information about this program, call the library at 637-7151 or log onto www.mcintoshmemoriallibrary.org.