How Tone Tailors Became Lancaster’s Hottest Spot For Music Equipment And Repair
Tone Tailors wants to deliver as much of a memorable experience as it does a satisfactory product, and the new Rock Lititz-based music equipment and repair shop will certainly not disappoint. Stepping into the suave 4,000-square-foot store, one can find boutique guitars, amplifiers, pedals, used instruments, and a slew of one-of-a-kind accessories. But it’s the experience that customers have at Tone Tailors that owner JP Painton hopes will distinguish it as a premiere destination on the East coast.
“We cater directly to each musician,” Painton said. “We do everything we can to get what you need.” That mantra reflects the shop’s namesake, a nod to the profession that alters garments to a particular taste. Instead of clothing, Painton wants customers to find music pieces that are a perfect and unique fit, at the highest quality.
Tone Tailors began in 2015, with Painton and co-owner John LeClair. Both avid music and gear fans, the two met while working at a big box retailer for music. Over time, JP realized he wasn’t getting what I needed out of the store, so JP and LeClair united in their vision to fill a hole they recognized in the Lancaster music community: a boutique alternative to big-name stores.
That idea eventually manifested as a shop on West King Street in downtown Lancaster. At first, Painton and LeClair stocked the store with brands they knew would be popular and fun, including Fender, PRs, and Martin. Then they brought in brands that weren’t as recognizable, but drew equal interest from visitors.
Tone Tailors’ consistent guitar repair services grew a trusted fan base – and business grew as their fan base did. “People would pop in for any little thing just to support us and help grow the store,” JP said. With growth comes opportunity, and in 2017, a big one knocked on Tone Tailors’ door. Rock Lititz, a production community supporting the live event industry, had just broken ground for its Pod 2 facility. Since Rock Lititz already housed several behind-the-scenes production businesses, it was looking for a public-facing company to occupy the space. Tone Tailors was a top pick.
After more than two years at the Lancaster location, the possibility of moving was bittersweet. But after one walkthrough of the space, JP said he could “really see the potential” for their store. The shop had its grand opening there in September 2017. At triple the size of the previous location, the store now features lesson rooms, a loft area, a separate acoustic room, and comfortable furnishings. More space has allowed for more products, including the sale of used gear and the acquisition of more inventory.
Tone Tailors has also expanded its services, including the addition of audio company Custom Audio Electronics, managed by music and industry legend Bob Bradshaw, who relocated to Lititz from Los Angeles. Bradshaw works with customers to outfit guitar systems including pedals, amps, and other gear. The store now offers on-site lessons for guitar, bass, drums, piano, and vocals, as well as recording classes taught by JP.
The close proximity of Rock Lititz’s booming businesses certainly doesn’t hurt. The campus is packed with a yoga studio, hotel, recording studios, and performance spaces. Taylor Swift, Usher, and U2 have already used the facilities. JP recalls a visit from Trey Anastasio, the lead vocalist and guitarist for the rock band Phish. Then there was the guitarist from the metal band Helmet. Plenty of other notable musicians have stopped by while on tour or recording sessions. But much to JP’s and LeClair’s original vision for Tone Tailors, the store predominantly serves the community, drawing in families, students, artists, and locales on a wide spectrum of musical experience.
Much of Tone Tailors’ success can be credited to Lancaster’s active music scene, JP said.
“It’s thriving,” JP said. “No matter the event, it often comes back to music. There are lots of creative bands and lots of curious, passionate musicians. People want to see what is the latest and greatest.”
As Tone Tailors looks ahead, JP says there’s still room for growth in the shop. He’d like to increase the resources for professional audio and recording equipment, paired with recording classes. Talks are happening to partner with even more brands. In the meantime, it will continue with its goal to keep the industry personnel, tuning one tone at a time.
By: Rebecca Kraybill