Galen Royer and Galen Royer Jr. can meet most any musical need.
The father and son operate Downtown Guitars -- the combination of neighboring businesses Ben's Music and Downtown Records and Tapes at 51 N. Charlotte St.
With rows of CDs and records across from a large display of acoustic and electric guitars, customers can find the means to create and enjoy music.
"There are not too many people who come in and say, 'Oh, I'll take that Zeppelin CD and that guitar,’ so it's two different groups of people," Royer Jr. said.
The convenience to share the same space was too much to pass up, he said.
"Three years ago we moved it all into one room," Royer Jr. said. "There's not as many music releases now, as far as CDs, so there's plenty of space. It's a little simpler having everything in one place."
Royer Jr.'s side of the business, Downtown Records, specializes in CDs and carries a used vinyl collection. Ben's Music carries new and used instruments and buys and trades them as well.
The elder Royer, a Pottstown native who also repairs and replaces parts to keep guitars in working order, founded Ben's Music while he was a practicing optician.
"I started really before I retired from that business," Royer said. "I knew I'd get too old someday for the optical business, and I did get too old. But the guitar world is a fun place," he said and laughed.
While his son focuses on sales and CDs, Royer keeps guitars humming like new.
"I'm pretty busy doing repairs and repairing all the guitars," Royer said. "We back everything one-hundred percent."
Along with guitars and amplifiers, the store carries a variety of instruments including keyboards, trumpets and clarinets. A wide array of odds and ends can be found as well.
"We have lots of guitar parts in stock," Royer said. "Just little odds and ends that you won't find in other stores."
They carry the usual things, like strings, straps and tuners. Tucked among them are knobs, electronics and the other pieces required to rock.
Having two stores in one spot keeps the business flexible and interesting.
"Each store kind of looks for their little niche or different thing," Royer Jr. said. "And (Ben's Music) probably makes us a little different than your basic CD store."
Royer Jr. began the used vinyl collection recently, returning to a format he started using in 1971. At the end of last summer, a man approached Royer Jr. in the store. Lugging three boxes filled with records, the man asked if Downtown Guitars bought used albums.
"We didn't have any used records here," said Royer Jr. "He said, 'I'll sell you my stereo if you buy these,’ which I'm not sure really sweetened the deal a whole lot, but he . . . carried that in and I bought the records. The stereo I took home and didn't hook up yet, but that's how we got into vinyl this second time around."
Downtown Guitars prides itself on being a service oriented business. The store will special order CDs for customers - a service that is difficult to come by at larger chain stores, and offer guitars on layaway.
"I'm not sure the big (stores) are all about (service)," said Royer Jr.
"We make the rules here, and we bend them to suit the customers," his father said.