It has been 23 years since Jim Nardi first opened Uptown Music in a 600-square-foot space located next to a hardware store. Although the store’s physical presence has grown exponentially—Nardi purchased a carpet retailer that was going out of business in 2007, creating 5,000 square feet of display space, plus another 3,000 square feet for storage and repairs—better has not necessarily required bigger for the community stalwart. Nardi learned that lesson early on from a trusted friend whose advice he still heeds to this day.
3827 River Rd. N.
Keizer, OR 97303
Jim Nardi, Owner
“Fender was our first major line. Our Fender territory rep, Terry Radonich, mentored me and helped me not to grow the business too fast, as he had seen so many other stores do before,” said Nardi. “He has since passed on, but I keep his coffee mug on my desk as a reminder of him.”
Following Radonich’s advice, Nardi still maintains a single-store presence with a small but dedicated staff. As he did in the early days—when his business partner had a family emergency and resigned two months after having opened—Nardi cash flows things whenever possible and still doesn’t borrow money to buy inventory. In fact, Nardi takes the rare step to keep his inventory limited to a handful of loyal brands, rather than offering a cursory representation of all that MI has to offer.
“We don’t try to carry every line,” said Nardi.