After years of toying with the idea, in 2016 Jason Underwood left his career in information technology to chase his lifelong dream of owning a guitar shop.

“As a kid I didn’t want to be a rock star; I wanted to have a music shop,” he said. “I never played in bands; I never gigged but always loved playing and being around guitar.”

Underwood, a Richardson native, grew up taking guitar lessons at The Music Haus—a defunct mom and pop music store located just across Belt Line Road from where Archie’s is today. He said he was struck by the unusual lack of local guitar shops in Dallas—a phenomenon he said was caused by big-box stores forcing mom and pops out of existence.

“[The big-box stores] really put a lot of those folks out of business, even the smaller chains,” he said. “They decimated the scene in Dallas in the ’90s.”

But as time went on, Underwood noticed a revival among musicians looking for a more personal, service-oriented experience. Once Alamo Drafthouse Cinema opened in the Richardson Heights Shopping Center, Underwood said he felt confident Archie’s could succeed.

“Alamo [Drafthouse] represents everything that a big chain movie theater is not,” he said. “I knew that everything had come together, and it was time to leave my career in IT and open [Archie’s].”

To compete with its large-scale counterparts, Underwood said Archie’s offers what those businesses lack: personalized service and client relationships.

“The big box on any level misses that,” he said. “I have three guys that work for me, and they are all experts in what they do. It is about the relationship and the knowledge that they offer. It’s like walking into [famed Boston bar] Cheers—you’ll be known by your name in here.”

The shop is not only an authorized dealer of several name-brand bass and six-string guitars, such as Dunable, Gretsch and Yamaha, but also sells used instruments, accessories and strings. Lessons by professional instructors and repairs by on-site technician John Dear are also offered.

In September Underwood will celebrate two years in business, a milestone he said he is proud to have reached.

“Stay open one year was my original goal,” he said. “Now we’ve doubled it. It’s a tough, tough business. We are definitely still here because of the relationships we have built.”

Archie's Guitars
100 S. Central Expressway, Ste. 46, Richardson
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Sat. 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Sun. noon-6 p.m.