Two Street Music
124 Second St.
Eureka CA 95501
Phone: (707) 445-3155
Sun – Fri: 10am – 6pm
Sat: 10am – 7pm
Mantova’s Two Street Music had gone through two sets of owners by 2009. The store, which opened in 1976, was on the verge of bankruptcy and wasn’t reaching its full potential. But, with a healthy dose of brotherly love, the store has turned around and, now, it’s become something incredibly unique and invaluable to the music community.
“My brothers, Nick and Matt, and I wanted to have a business together…not necessarily a music store, but this just happened to come along,” said Anthony Mantova, who worked as a driver for a casino, a building inspector for banks and a news anchor before his brothers and he purchased the store. “I was working a 9-to-5 job, but I wanted to do something more meaningful,” he continued. “Matt was still in college at the time, so we like to say he got lucky because he never had to have a real job!”
There are no employees at the store…just the three Mantova brothers, who split job duties based on their individual strengths. Nick is in charge of the repair department, the size of which the store just recently tripled. The reason, according to Anthony Mantova? “People want to save what they have.” Matt is the lead salesman and a classical guitar player. “So,” Mantova said, “he is able to pick up an instrument that a customer is looking at and demo it for them.” Anthony Mantova does paperwork, writes orders and handles other jobs to keep the store running.
“We have good relationships with our vendors,” he said, “because we tell them that, whenever you call, an owner will always pick up.” He added, “They like that.”
Every inch of Mantova’s Two Street Music is a reflection of the brothers’ passion, personality and know-how. For starters, the store only stocks instrument categories that are familiar to the owners. So, shoppers will see about 300 guitars and dozens of drum sets, as well as an in-depth selection of accordions. “Our father is a master accordion player, so we take them very seriously,” Mantova stressed.
Something you won’t find is software and DJ gear, despite the genre’s popularity with the younger generation. “We are seeing that millennials and customers younger than that are not coming in the numbers they should be, because they are now making music on their computers,” Mantova lamented.
“I’m worried about that younger generation making beats and not learning instruments,” he continued, “because that will affect future generations and sales in traditional music stores.” However, he said, “We feel uncomfortable selling a product that none of us has any experience in. So, we don’t sell software.” He added, “We tried to force the DJ gear issue and, honestly, we are not good at it. But we do offer cables and connectors for those customers, so they still have a reason to come in.” Now that RadioShack is no longer carrying adapters and cables, he noted, people have nowhere else to buy accessories.
Products such as those can often be found hanging on displays that have been designed by the Mantova brothers themselves. Each display costs approximately $1,500 to make, but Mantova has found that they work better than purchased displays. They’re able to use warm, welcoming woods and colors, and to make the displays “larger than life.”
“We don’t want our displays to be over the top,” Mantova said, “but we do want to create an ‘awe’ effect.” He elaborated, “For example, we have a seven-foot Pedalopolis that holds 250 pedals, and we have another one that holds 16 drum sets. Our displays help to free up floor space and organize the merchandise. And, each time we introduce one, sales in that category go way up.” Mantova remarked that snare and strap displays are currently being planned.
With a selection of instruments that the owners are comfortable selling and a bevy of displays meant to bring those products alive in the minds of customers, the final ingredient in Mantova’s recipe for success is a personable touch that gets customers to open their wallets and make a purchase.
“We live in a place with a poor economy,” he admitted. “So, people are tight with their money, and you need to get into their world to get them to spend.” He continued, “So, we make sure to start the conversation by asking, ‘What brings you in today?’ You need to break down that wall. We don’t want anyone ever to be able to say they’re ‘just looking.’”
One way that they connect with their customers is through humor. Mantova describes his sense of humor as being “more on the dry side, whereas Matt’s is more down home. We play with our longtime customers and make jokes with them. It’s important to make that first impression, so that they know they’re not in just any store.”
Although Mantova knows how to dial it down on the rare occasion when joking around would rub someone the wrong way, he’s found that it is a strong weapon in combating comparison shopping, as his brother and he will rib customers whom they see looking at online prices on a smartphone.
“We are a MAP store, and we take the time to explain MAP to customers so they understand that the best prices are here,” Mantova stated. “We like to reinforce in our customers the sanctity of price. We don’t offer any sales, because we want our prices to be above reproach. I don’t want a customer to come in a few months later and see that something they already bought is now cheaper. They feel cheated. Steady prices create confidence.”
In light of the tough economy in the community and the problems with vagrancy and crime that that creates, Mantova and his brothers have to work hard to maintain steadiness and confidence, and to keep customers coming back.
The Owners’ winning personalities, a continued focus on what they’re good at and a one-of-a-kind store experience will assuredly keep Mantova’s Two Street Music two steps ahead.