A brightly colored flag adorned with music notes now marks the expanded location of High Strung Violins and Guitars on the corner of West Markham and Broad Streets in Durham.
The music store, which opened across the street from East Campus Nov. 9, provides workshops, lessons, free learning jams and string instruments and accessories for purchase and rental. Because the growing store required more space, High Strung expanded to the corner building next door, notably increasing visibility, floor manager Lila Hemsell said.
“Now that we’re super visible from both streets, there has definitely been an uptake in foot traffic,” Lila said.
In the expansion, High Strung replaced The Trinity Lounge, a hookah bar and nightclub.
“We replaced a super sketchy hookah bar with something more positive, which people in the neighborhood are thrilled about,” Hemsell said.
Students who play stringed instruments are also excited about the convenient location.
“It’s a good thing to have to have near because then, whenever you’re in need of a music shop—a fix up or an accessory—there’s one right there,” said freshman Arvind Kumar, who plays the viola with the Duke Symphony Orchestra.
Hsiao-Mei Ku, professor of the practice of music of violin and member of the Ciompi Quartet, also noted the favorable location of the store as a major benefit for her and her students.
“It’s very, very convenient to use the store if I need a little something here or there,” Ku said. “It’s just to walk across the street and it is great for my students.”
Ku noted that she and other music professors prefer to take their instruments to specialists in Raleigh where the services may be of a higher quality.
“Our instruments are very, very high end and we don’t just give [them] to anyone,” Ku said.
While the store has received positive reviews so far from students and faculty, Hemsell said they did not regularly visit at the old location, hidden from the street.
“Historically, Duke students haven’t spent a lot of resources here, but we’d love to have them,” Hemsell said.