High-end guitar shop opening in NL

New London - Spindrift Guitars, a retail shop specializing in high-end guitars, amplifiers and guitar accessories, is set to open Saturday at 107 State St. and Eugene O'Neill Drive, diagonally across the street from Caruso Music, a downtown landmark.

"We're glad to be opening on New London's 'music corner,'" John Van Ness, the new store's general manager, said Wednesday.

Inside, carpet layers and other workmen were readying the 2,800-square-foot space, which incorporates 115 State St., for the shop's debut. None of the inventory was yet on display.

"By Saturday, we'll have 100 guitars here," said Van Ness, who lives in Waterford. "As we prepare to open, we're keeping in mind that our goal is to create a space that honors the products we're selling. I expect we will have a comfortable, fun, inviting space for serious acoustic guitar, electric guitar, and bass guitar enthusiasts to enjoy."

Michael Stryker, of Waterford, a financial adviser for UBS Financial Services in New London, is the new venture's owner. Michael "Whit" Whitney, a Groton resident and former Navy submariner with years of experience in the recording and amplification businesses, will work at Spindrift, building electric guitar amplifiers and repairing and modifying instruments.

Spindrift's location, whose most recent previous tenant was Cadmarie Salon & Spa, is owned by Jim Noonan of North Stonington.

Van Ness said he and Stryker met several years ago at Caruso Music, where Van Ness was then working and where Stryker, an avid guitarist, was a regular customer. Over time, they discussed a partnership.

"We recognized that the guitar needs of local musicians were not being met," Van Ness said. "We decided to carry the guitar torch in town."

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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