View Full Version : My visit to Elderly? Disappointing!

Kayak Jim
06-17-2012, 10:51 AM
So a few days ago I was making my way across Michigan and planned a stop at Elderly in Lansing. I've only been playing for six months so am not ready for the step up from my Mainland just yet, but I didn't want to pass up on the opportunity. I figured I'd try a few K brand ukes for "future reference" (maybe near future!) and just see what everyone's on about regarding the Hawaiian make ukes.

So the store had what seemed like hundreds of guitars on display and maybe twenty ukes. Most of the ukes were entry level with a few vintage, plus one Kamaka tenor and one Kelii concert (VERY sweet- beautiful construction, nice tone and playability in spite of the action a bit high).

I told a clerk I wanted to try some of the Hawaiian made ukes and got a blank stare. "Like a Koaloha concert or a Kamaka" I said. "How do you spell that?" (!) "None in stock". So much for my research.

I also wanted to check out the stands, both instrument and music. They only had a couple of instrument stands on display, and no music stands, so I asked if they could show them to me. "Which one do you want to look at?" OK drop that idea.

Got a set of Martin strings, but Fremont blacks - yep, out of stock.

I'm sure glad I hadn't made a special trip 2+ hours one way. Seems they're more set up for mail order, although there were a lot of people in the store for mid afternoon on a weekday.

Guess I'll have to book a trip to the 808 if I want to try some nice ukes. If it's any indication though, the Kelii was very sweet and it's not even top tier.

mm stan
06-17-2012, 10:57 AM
Did You know the builder of Keli'i Casey Moore, also started the KPK and sold the rights...I have had a couple and they sound good to me... they are made in China now and sell 150-250
from soprano to tenor.. it a good arcacia solid wood ukes at good prices.. from beginner to mid level players.. there are only 2 dealers in the US...Ken or Jason.....

06-17-2012, 11:36 AM
Elderly is pretty hit-or-miss.

The past couple times I've been there I haven't been impressed either. Some of their people have no clue what's going on.

They have been good in some of my past transactions with them though.

Sorry to hear that your trip through Michigan kinda stunk.

Curly Koa
06-17-2012, 11:52 AM
I had a similar experience this week, but got lucky -- they had a couple of solid wood cheapies that sounded pretty decent. But it was annoying not to have all the ukes, cases, etc., out on display, becaue I wanted to see everything, and that involved making him run downstairs over and over to fetch things. The guy helping me out was very nice and patient, though. I really wish they carried more high-end ukes, though . . .

06-17-2012, 12:12 PM
Interesting tale, certainly. Online they sure have a ton of high end ukes. That rots that they're not in the store--thanks for saving me a trip.

For what it's worth, if I bought a uke at the store, I'd pay sales tax. With free shipping and no online sales tax, it's less expensive to buy online from Elderly, if one knows what they want and willing to buy unseen.

06-17-2012, 12:44 PM
All this talk about uke stores is making me want to visit Uke Republic's new store about an hour from me just outside Atlanta.

06-17-2012, 12:46 PM
Retail space is expensive compared to warehouse space. That, plus I suspect that some of the new stuff on their site - expectially mundane things like music stands and such - is probably drop-shipped from manufacturers' or distributors' warehouses.

frets alot
06-17-2012, 12:56 PM
With Elderly, if it is on-line AND in stock , it IS available to buy at the store. It may not be on display, and you may have to ask for assistance. Just ask. They have limited space to diplay stock. The other time it's not available, is if someone just bought an instrument on-line and it hadn't been pulled yet for shipment at the time you are there.

06-17-2012, 01:02 PM
I was fortunate that a friend told me to be prepared before I went there. I looked at all the display ukes and then two that weren't before I decided to buy one of them. The young guys working there are just clerks. The repair guys downstairs are the stars. Great service, very reasonable, and their inventory is better than anything local and I'm in Chicago suburbs with many music stores. Nobody's perfect, especially in this intrnet age. Elderly is still a great resource. It also helps to have a smart phone so you can refer to their webpage while you are there.
Ed Miller.

Kayak Jim
06-17-2012, 02:36 PM
I have to agree Ed. If you knew what to expect and were very well prepared with a list of exactly what was in stock that you wanted to see you could be assertive with the clerks and get them to bring you whatever. The monitors in the store of course don't show what the website does so be prepared to spell out names and model numbers to find things.

Definitely not a conventional retail experience.

06-17-2012, 02:47 PM
They just had a terrific looking Loprinzi Model B in sunburst on the website last week. That would have been a great uke to play.

06-17-2012, 08:30 PM
Thanks for info...it's really helpful for us overseas...

frets alot
06-18-2012, 01:53 AM
They do have a computer in the showroom with internet access. Sometimes when I'm there I look to see what is in stock and to help my browsing in the store. It's exactly the information you'd pull up from a smart phone or on your home computer.