The guitarman from Miri

The guitarman from Miri
by Lucas Jalong Bato
February 21, 2010, Sunday

THE lack of education has not prevented Nico Choo from learning to speak fluent English and making a success of running a music shop.

He attended only standard two in a Chinese primary school because of poverty but anyone meeting the 53-year-old from Miri today would think he is a highly-educated individual from an English school.

I picked up English when I grew up and now I can hold a decent conversation in the language with my customers, Choo told thesundaypost.

The ability to speak English is not only his personal achievement, given his educational background.

He is also a successful businessman and the proud owner of a thriving music shop at Lees Music Centre on the second floor of the Soon Hup Tower in the city centre.

When he started his business in July 2008, few knew about him.

Back then, he held a stock of about 30 guitars but now, his shop boasts over 200 branded instruments from all over the world Gibson, Ibanez, Fender. You name it, he has it.

With a prospering business, he now can afford to rent two shoplots. And his fair and square dealings have earned him a broadening base of loyal customers, some from as far as Brunei.

Although Choo sells guitars and other musical instruments, his specialty is actually repairing and servicing guitars at a very fair price.

I have always liked repairing guitars. It grew from a hobby into a business venture. I did play the guitar when I was young although not now as my fingers are stiff with age. I love country music. To me, music is life I enjoy life through good music, he said.

He got involved in the music trade at 18. It was through repairing guitars that Choos reputation as an honest businessman grew.

He believes honesty is the best policy. I charge all my customers the same locals and foreigners. I dont bill my Brunei customers any different just because they can afford it.

So they appreciate my service and always come back. More importantly, they recommend me to friends and this is the most powerful advertisement through word of mouth.

According to Choo, his Brunei customers usually send top brands such as Gibson for repair and servicing.

These guitars can fetch between RM5,000 and RM10,000, he said.

During the interview, he showed me a RM9,000 Jean Larrivee guitar a customer had sent him for repair. This shows the level of trust his customers have in him.

And thats not all. The repair costs of what is probably the most expensive guitar in town is only RM100 plus. Naturally, the owner is delighted not only with the fine repair work but also the low charge.

Choo recalled what a doctor told him when he sent his guitar for repair.

Nico, if you cant repair my guitar, you can throw it away and I wont blame you. Because the doctor trusted me to that extent, I was able to do my best for his guitar much to his surprise.

Apart from listing out the items needed to do repairs, Choo also photographs each stage of the process as proof of his sincerity to his customers.

This way, I gain their trust. They know I wont cheat them. I always believe in being fair to my customers.

If we are tempted to go for quick gains, we wont last very long in this business or any business for that matter.

He doesnt believe in pinching customers from other music shops, saying it was the customers themselves who asked around for repair and servicing music shops in town.

They found his shop and became loyal customers because of his good service.

Choo, a Christian, said when he first started, he had the support of the churches in Miri, especially from the young people.

He is grateful for support from the Christian community. The young people are happy to know theres a place where they can have their guitars repaired.

When they say thank you, uncle, for repairing their guitars, its music to my ears. I guess this is what my business is all about bringing satisfaction to my customers and seeing the joy written on the faces, he added.


Recommended Music dealer! :smiley: :smiley:

Great to see him shown on the paper :smiley:

lol i read this in the paper yesterday.

he is very nice… and friendly… been to his shop and tested a jackson guitar :wink:

wow…where’s this soon hup tower in city centre?never noe le?i’m planning to buy an electric guitar

I’ve been there before.
Mostly China/Taiwan product.
If u wish to test the guitar, he will test u with ‘drop keys’
If you don’t buy he’ll show his long face. Sigh…