Posted: August 7, 2020 DECI Member Feature: Offbeats Violin & Guitar Studio
While these last few months of extra family time have maybe been an adjustment for some, John and Rose Vincent, partners in life and owners of Offbeats Violin and Guitar Studio, didn’t have much adjusting to do. They’ve been running their business together for nearly a decade.
Rose and John moved their multifaceted studio to their current building at 307 S. Farwell St in 2014 after they married and merged their businesses in 2011. They both bring 20+ years of experience in teaching, performance, and instrument repair to the business.
Even if you don’t own or play a string instrument, it’s seriously worth following their Instagram account. Watching the painstaking process of undoing years, sometimes even centuries of wear and tear is extremely satisfying.
“We’ve had some epic repairs,” says Rose, including a bass repair that they hashtagged ‘it’s all about that bass’. “People follow those restorations on social media, and it gives them hope watching us bring something back from the dead. It allows people to watch the process.”
Instrument repair is just a part of what they do at Offbeats. They also provide lessons with 7 teachers on staff. A mix of virtual and in-person capabilities has helped their business reach beyond the Chippewa Valley.
In addition to the lessons and repairs, Offbeats is also a retailer of violins, cellos, mandolins, guitars, banjos - you get the gist. String instruments are their jam.
As their reputation has grown as luthiers (your word of the day today), so too has their reach across the country. In normal years, Rose and John spend a good chunk of their year traveling the U.S.—buying, selling, and picking up instruments for repair. Their work even extends across the ocean - serving customers in France, Korea, and Tokyo to name a few.
Whether teaching students or repairing instruments, Offbeats deals in a business that requires a great deal of patience, skill, and attention to the most minute of details. But John and Rose balance that intense focus on perfection with a vibe that is open, warm, and focused on others.
“We wanted this to be a space where we considered the individual. We understand that everyone takes a different path and wanted to be inclusive of everyone’s speed,” says Rose, when asked about how they came up with the name Offbeats. “Students work at their own pace.”
“Also, I had a heck of a time learning offbeats as a kid,” she laughs. “You fit in here, wherever you are.”
The Vincents have also had to constantly think ahead, adapt, and make investments that ensure the quality of their work.
“Our building might not be the prettiest building in town,” says Rose, “but it was uniquely suited for us.”
Originally a bank, the building’s sturdy structure and basement vault space have created soundproof rooms so multiple lessons can take place at the same time. It has also made it easier to effectively maintain proper humidity and temperature for their instruments – absolutely essential in this line of work. In addition, they have invested heavily in redundant heating systems and other climate control measures to keep instruments safe and their business up and running.
That continued adaptation and investment in their business has taken a new turn in light of the recent pandemic.
“We read the writing on the wall prior to the shutdown in March and moved all of our lessons to virtual during that time,” says Rose. “That transition was pretty seamless.”
They have since moved back to some in-person lessons while continuing to teach virtually as well.
But the pandemic has created additional challenges specific to their business, too.
“Hand sanitizer can destroy 85% of our instruments in minutes,” says Rose.
They have had to be vigilant in making sure all customers wash their hands prior to touching any instruments. They’ve also been investing in additional airflow and purification systems to make their space as safe as possible for staff and customers.
“We’re trying to protect our customers, while also protecting our instruments,” says Rose. “We’re trying to find a balance.”
And balance is part of what Offbeats brings to our downtown. Unique skills, artistic contributions, and a concern for the wellbeing of the people and businesses in our community. They make our downtown a bit more special, and we’re so glad they’re here.
You can find out more about Offbeats on their website http://www.offbeatsviolin.com/ or social media https://www.instagram.com/offbeatsviolin/; https://www.facebook.com/Offbeats-Violins-122276837836091/