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Downtown: Music Quest combines teenager’s dreams, love of guitar

Douglas Frechette Jr., left, and his father Douglas Frechette Sr pose for a portrait in their store Music Quest, a new business in downtown Concord on January 24, 2013. 

ANDREA MORALES / Monitor Staff

Douglas Frechette Jr., left, and his father Douglas Frechette Sr pose for a portrait in their store Music Quest, a new business in downtown Concord on January 24, 2013. ANDREA MORALES / Monitor Staff Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »

There are just five guitars hanging on the wall inside D.J. Frechette’s new music store, but the 19-year-old has big plans.

D.J. opened Music Quest on the corner of Pleasant and South State streets this month and is slowly adding to his inventory, which now includes kazoos, drumsticks and guitar accessories.

He’s been playing guitar since age 5 and has dreamed of opening a music store since he graduated from John Stark Regional High School in 2011. With help from his parents, the guitar-playing teenager from Dunbarton signed a one-year lease for the long and narrow basement space at 5 S. State St.

“A few months ago, I was just like, ‘I got to make this happen,’ ” he said last week, standing on the striped orange carpeting of his new store.

Most of his friends had doubted his ability to become a retailer. Now, he’s “trying to prove everyone wrong, I guess.”

D.J. took a semester off from school at NHTI to open the store, and said he’ll likely change his major to business when he returns to classes. But he kept his job at Circle K in Bow, where he works an early morning shift.

In the afternoons, he can be found at Music Quest tuning instruments, teaching his mother to play guitar

or working with his dad in a back office room scattered with paperwork and computers.

While D.J. is at work in Bow, his parents keep an eye on the store.

“This is going to be all family-run, family-owned,” said his father, Douglas Frechette.

Douglas, who drives trucks for a living, decided to help once he realized how serious his son was about his dreams.

“He drew up a five-year business plan for me,” he said.

Kim, D.J.’s mother, said she hopes her son can learn from the experience.

“This is a little lesson for him, too,” she said.

First in the five-year plan: Collect more inventory. The store’s overstock room is empty, but D.J. would like to fill it up. Years from now, D.J. would like to have a bigger store – a music super-center “kind of like a Walmart.”

Douglas said the shop, which now has plenty of open space between its three display cabinets, will be fully stocked in a few weeks.

“It’s just a matter of crunching little numbers at a time, because we’re not millionaires,” he said.

Customers can also place orders through Music Quest if the shop doesn’t have an item in stock, Douglas said.

In his first five days of business, D.J. made one sale.

A woman came in to buy a guitar capo, he said. After learning she was Music Quest’s first customer, she left with four kazoos, as well.

Orchid approaches move

Siam Orchid will finally move into its new home on Main Street this year, according to the restaurant’s owner.

Tom Saktanaset, who owns the Thai restaurant located in the Vegas Block on North Main Street, said he hopes to complete renovations to the new building and move in about two months.

Saktanaset bought the building at 12 N. Main St. and announced plans to relocate his restaurant in 2009. The project was delayed over concerns for accessibility – he is now building a back entrance and handicapped-accessible dining room because the front of the building is not accessible.

Renovation work is “almost done now,” Saktanaset said last week. The building will also have two market-rate apartments above the restaurant. Saktanaset said he has not begun looking for tenants.

Documenting the bindery

A report about the former site of the New Hampshire Bindery could become a template for recording the history of old buildings before their demolition, according to historian Jim Garvin.

Garvin was commissioned by developer Steve Duprey to write about the history of 43-45 S. Main St. Duprey demolished buildings on the site last year to make way for new construction. The Ford & Kimball building dated to 1886.

When Duprey received approval from the Concord Heritage Commission to demolish the building, he was asked to document its history.

Garvin said he and Dupery exchanged a handshake to complete a report, but Duprey “didn’t know quite what he was being asked to do,” and the Heritage Commission didn’t have a clear goal in mind, either.

Last month, Garvin completed a draft of his 53-page report, which is now available on the city’s website. He’ll present it to the Heritage Commission in February, in hopes that it can become an outline for future reports.

“Buildings like this are no longer being constructed and so it’s important for the sake of architectural history to document” them, Garvin said.

As redevelopment comes to South Main Street, Garvin said Concord residents should remember the city’s industrial history.

“I personally, I didn’t pay an awful lot of attention to the bindery building previously,” he said. “None of us really appreciated the history that was embodied in that set of buildings.”

The site first was used to produce woodworking and machinery tools, Garvin said. It was later home to Prescott Piano Co. and an electric motor manufacturing company. Before the building was demolished, it housed the New Hampshire Bindery, which has since relocated to Bow.

Duprey has said the new building will include a display about the site’s history.

Concord in the ‘Globe’

Looking for a great travel destination? Search no further than Concord, according to a recent piece in the Boston Globe’s travel section.

“We’re glad we stayed; New Hampshire’s capital city is so much more than its State House dome. And, it’s only getting better,” wrote Globe correspondents Diane Blair and Pamela Wright.

Their December visit included a stay at the Centennial Hotel, an event with filmmaker Ken Burns at Red River Theatres and visits to the Museum of New Hampshire History, the Susan N. McLane Audubon Center and the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center.

Among the shops they visited: Gibson’s Bookstore, Bona Fide Green Goods, Bravo Boutique and the Concord Food Co-op. Their review of Concord was published earlier this month.

Liza Poinier, Intown Concord’s operations manager, was quoted in the article.

“I think if someone who read the Globe who hadn’t visited Concord before read that piece, they would definitely want to come here,” Poinier said last week.

Ice for a cause

The third annual “Ice Sit” fundraiser will be held Friday at True Brew Barista. Participants will sit on ice and take off layers of clothing to raise money for local Special Olympics athletes.

“Funds are raised when sitters perched atop the ice chair lose their layers in exchange for donations from the crowd,” organizer Kim Murdoch wrote in a press release.

Proceeds go to next weekend’s Penguin Plunge, where a Concord team will jump into the Atlantic Ocean to raise money for the Special Olympics.

Among this year’s ice sitters: Basketball player Luke Bonner and WKXL’s Chris Ryan. The event begins at 5:30 p.m. Friday at True Brew Barista in Bicentennial Square.

Social seminar

Intown Concord will host a marketing workshop for local business owners Wednesday.

The seminar will include presentations about online sales and social media for businesses, according to Intown Concord’s website. (The Moni tor is one of Intown Concord’s corporate sponsors.) It begins at 5:45 p.m. Wednesday at the Holiday Inn on North Main Street. Business owners can register at Intownconcord.org.

(Laura McCrystal can be reached at 369-3312 or
lmccrystal@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @lmccrystal.)

Good luck D.J.! I'll stop by for the grand-opening!

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