After leaving the military service, Rockin’ Robin founder Bart Wittrock put his technical skills to use. In 1972, Wittrock and his roommate began repairing guitars out of the Houston duplex they used to live in.
“I was pretty good at mechanical things and somehow got involved in buying broken guitars and repairing them,” Bart said. “Bands rehearsed in the house and we repaired guitars. Our living room was our showroom and our rehearsal room. We were just musicians trying to make a living.”
That small guitar repair business has since grown over the decades into an iconic, family-run store with “WE BUY GUITARS!!” in large, black-and-white print on the outside of the building and guitars of all styles and brands lining the walls of its interior.
According to Liz Wittrock, Bart’s daughter and the general manager of Rockin’ Robin, the store currently has over 1,000 guitars and basses for sale, many of which were bought from customers.
“I think that most of our business comes in that way. We have a reputation for doing honest business and being real with people and trying to give them a fair shake,” Liz said. “We’re still going from the basic beginner model of taking in guitars, fixing them, repairing them and putting them back out there to be played.”
Along with the multitude of guitars and other musical instruments for sale, Rockin’ Robin currently has two full-time technicians on staff to perform repairs and, in partnership with Bojangles Music School, provides lessons for students of all ages to learn guitar, bass, voice, keyboard and more.
“In our lesson studio upstairs, we have 8-year-old beginners and 80-year-old beginners,” Liz said. “It’s never too late to start your musical journey, and we’ve definitely seen that through the school that’s upstairs.”
Rockin’ Robin Guitars & Music
3619 S. Shepherd Drive, Houston
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sun. noon-6 p.m.