GuitarGuitar is now employee-owned

(Image credit: guitarguitar)

GuitarGuitar has been placed in the hands of its 160 employees, with a majority 60 per cent stake in the UK’s biggest guitar retailer now held in an employee ownership trust [EOT].

Headquartered in the outskirts of Glasgow, with six retail locations across the UK, GuitarGuitar was founded in 2004 by Graham Bell and Kip McBay. They made the move to restructure the business and move towards an employee ownership model to allow them to leave the company without threatening its direction.

“We’ve spent the last 20 years building a brand that we are wholeheartedly passionate about,” said Bell. “We wanted to ensure the business means something to future owners when our time comes to take a step back.”

Not only did we want to reward staff for their efforts at the company but we also wanted to ensure our customers will always be front and centre

Graham Bell

The employee ownership model is similar to that used by home retail entertainment retailer Richer Sounds, but GuitarGuitar is the first musical instrument retailer in the UK to adopt it. Bell believes it is a move that benefits both staff and customer.

“Not only did we want to reward staff for their efforts at the company but we also wanted to ensure our customers will always be front and centre,” he said. “Every experience a customer has at GuitarGuitar will now be with someone who is invested in and committed to delivering outstanding service to musicians.”


(Image credit: guitarguitar)

GuitarGuitar’s operations manager Bobby Simpson echoed Bell’s sentiments and said that the news was a boost to the company's staff. 

“This is a fantastic day for the team at GuitarGuitar,” Simpson said. “What a brilliant start to the year knowing that Kip and Graham have full confidence in every staff member to continue and develop the GuitarGuitar legacy.”     

GuitarGuitar takes in revenues of £45 million per annum, selling over 50,000 guitars in the process. If you need a new electric guitar, set of acoustic guitar strings, or just a handful of picks, you’ll find them in Glasgow, Newcastle, Camden, Birmingham, Epsom and Edinburgh, or indeed online at the GuitarGuitar website

Those of a tech persuasion can visit their Glasgow Digital store, which has you covered for hardware synthesizers, sequencers, studio microphones and all things Roland.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.