"I love the other (guitar) stores here," Harkins says. "It's just they're doing something slightly different."
Patrick Harkins, 24, hardly looks up from the guitar as he works polish into the wood. He's been handling guitars for as long as he can remember, and he's been selling them since he was 15.
"I used to hang out at this guitar shop all the time," Harkins says. "I needed to have a job to get my driver's permit, so I asked the owner if he would just sign it, even though I didn't work there. He signed it, but he said I hung out there so much helping people he really ought to be paying me anyway."
In 2002, Harkins moved to Austin, Texas, to try living somewhere other than Jackson, where he played with several bands and networked with other vintage-guitar aficionados.
Now, just months after moving back from Austin, the St. Joe graduate and Jackson native has opened a guitar shop unlike any other in Jackson. The space, located at 607 Fondren Place, was just a concrete shell in August, but now it's a finished, inviting space where every wall in guitars. Even the counter is shaped like a guitar.
Harkins' guitar store specializes in vintage guitars, like the 1965 Gibson J200 behind the counter that sells for around $15,000. He is bashful about the price but explains that vintage guitars are expensive simply because well-preserved, original pieces are so rare. "An old guitar has a lot of history," Harkins says. "That J200 was the same year, the same model that Elvis played."
Harkins says he used the contacts he made in Austin to bring hard-to-find vintage guitars to Jackson. "In Austin, there are about 10 stores doing this," he explains. "Here, this is the only store specializing in vintage guitars."
He has limited edition Taylor guitars and a Martin guitar from 1934, but he stresses that you don't have to have a fat wallet to shop in his store. He has used Les Paul Gibson guitars for $1,500 and starter guitars for as little as $100.
Still, Harkins is in his element relating the historical idiosyncrasies of different guitars.
"They didn't put metal truss rods in these because they were short of metal during World War II," he says, caressing the neck of another guitar, "so there's more play in the neck than usual."
Harkins says it was important for him to live away from home for a while, but there was never any question where he would open his first business. "Fondren is growing," he says, noting that he lives not far from his shop. "It's a great place to open any business. I've got so many friends here who have helped me, and my family is here. So this is really a dream come true."
Patrick's store is amazing. For a guitar nut like myself, just being there is heaven. And he is always willing to chat, answer questions about the different guitars, etc. A true treasure!