Cheap but not broken

FSU Pro Audio, a local music supply store and hip hangout, offers quality amps, cords and mixers at bargain prices

A crowd of music-lovers hang out at an FSU Pro Audio Musicians’ Garage Sale.

A crowd of music-lovers hang out at an FSU Pro Audio Musicians’ Garage Sale.

Photo By David Robert

FSU Pro Audio is located at 240 Ralston St. Official store hours are 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. daily, but hours of operation can vary. Call 322-9995 to make sure someone’s there.

Eevery Saturday afternoon, FSU Pro Audio holds a barbecue with a beat, displaying its wares—from microphones to amps to cords—to a crowd of assorted musician types soaking up the sun and chowing down on burgers. FSU picks up the tab on the entertainment to bring out as many bands and music lovers as possible for its Saturday parties.

But every once in a while, FSU goes beyond simply selling new musical equipment to folks. They invite the public to hawk their used—but not old or abused—equipment at FSU’s Musicians’ Garage Sale.

FSU’s garage doors were thrown open on a recent Saturday for the themed garage sale. A five-piece band played in the garage while people mingled, swapped and sold all kinds of things musicians might need. The unassuming parking lot was transformed into a cross between a swap venue and picnic area. Free burgers and liquid refreshments were served, and families and music enthusiasts relaxed despite the Saturday afternoon heat.

Outside on the sidewalk, pool hall Cue ‘n’ Cushion was supplying the barbecued burgers and a big patch of shade from the side of their truck. DJ Tez from KRZQ 100.9 set up a live remote broadcast from the parking lot.

“You can’t beat a good band and burgers,” Tez said in between broadcasts.

Local band Pufferbilly rocked for hours in one of the garage spaces. About 45 people were there at any given time, enjoying the summer fun. The best part about it all is that the music, food and drinks were all free of charge—just there to be enjoyed.

“We’ll hopefully have a second [garage sale] in the fall, [and then] every couple of months or so,” said FSU store manager Marianne Psota. “It’s done really well so far. And everything’s cheap, but not cheap.”

Everything seemed to be in good shape and definitely priced for a starving artist.

Psota said store management wants to promote the music scene because they think the people in the community need and deserve a thriving culture of tune. The year-old store recently underwent a management shift and has gotten more creative and active in its promotional style.

“A lot of people think it’s a car audio store,” FSU employee Dave Kellams said when asked what the promotions problem had been.

FSU has a range of audio equipment that can be bought or rented quickly and cheaply. They’ve got strings and cords for amps and mixers, just like any other music store. And they’re open until 7 p.m.—and occasionally later—for musicians who need a last-minute something before band practice or a show.

FSU pays each band $50 for the afternoon and is always on the lookout for local bands that want exposure. Some of the musicians and bands featured at the audio store have been George Pickard, Astronaut, Georgia, The Spark and Denis Fecko. Kellams says that it’s a great way for FSU to get noticed and present itself as an alternative to other stores.

So next Saturday afternoon, when someone next to you whines, "There’s nothing to do," and the day is just getting hotter, take them down to FSU Pro Audio. Maybe they will notice how much of a "something" an audio store can provide.