Since officially starting this business, I’ve been asked countless times why I chose the name Coop Guitars. Most people that ask about the name simply assume my last is name is Cooper, and that I’ve abbreviated my name to form the business name. As a matter of fact, a recent wood order that was delivered to me had the name Cooper Guitars inked onto some of the boards instead of Coop Guitars. My last name is Murray, so there is no direct path to Coop from there.
It all started before my wife (the most patient and supportive women in the world) and I moved to Chattanooga. I was building guitars at a part time level in my home work shop. I realized that if I wanted to grow the business, I would require a larger/off premises shop.
While visiting a friend at his new house, I was given a tour of the house and the property. On the far end of his property, there were several outbuildings which we toured one at a time. Upon entering the last building, I thought to myself “this would make a great space for a guitar building shop”. My friend was even willing to rent me the space to use as a workshop. When I asked what the building had been used for in the past, my friend mentioned that it was a chicken coop. I commented that I could call the shop Coop Guitars and the idea for the name was partially hatched!
Shortly before establishing the shop in my friend’s chicken coop, my wife and I decided we wanted to move to Chattanooga. The chicken coop never made it into service. With a need to secure a workshop in Chattanooga, I scoured the internet, newspapers and bulletin boards for something that would be appropriate. By complete accident, I wandered into a building across the street from my apartment and discovered an amazing program sponsored by the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce. This building housed the BDC (Business Development Center). The BDC is part of a nationwide program that offers support to start up businesses by helping with things like legal services, accounting services, business plan development and in my case most importantly, affordable manufacturing space.
In speaking with the director of the program, it was clear that Coop Guitars and the BDC were a great fit. As she explained the program to me, she used the word “incubator” (just one more chicken reference) as in, incubator for business development. At that point, my business name was fully hatched.
The shop at the BDC is such a far cry from the coop that I first thought of using that I can’t even imagine how the coop would have been functional at this point of the operation.
After being so close to starting the business back in Columbus Ohio in a chicken coop, so many things came together to place me inside this wonderful program. Isn’t it funny how things work out? Maybe that’s why the chicken crossed the road!
Below is a picture of the BDC as seen from our apartment. Over the next few weeks, I’ll add some interior shots of the shop within the BDC