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Angie and Ted Vig make no apologies for catering to some of the Twin Cities' hardest-working and best-known musicians. Their Midway-area store, Vig Guitar Shop at Snelling and Thomas avenues, boasts dozens of the artists' photos on the walls.

Eye On St. Paul was recently alerted to the Vigs' shop hitting a nine-year milestone and wondered how this couple — a master luthier from Northfield and a singer with roots in the White Earth Nation — carved out a niche serving local pro guitarists. This interview was edited for length and clarity.

Q: Tell me a little bit about your story.

A: We just celebrated nine years, September 2014.

Ted Vig
Ted Vig

Carl Stover

Q: Wow. I would imagine a lot of people know about you.

T: Oh, yeah. We do tons of repair work. And I think at this point, we've got me and, let's see, four other luthiers in back. I think that makes us the biggest repair shop in the state.

Q: And you're the only one owned by an Indigenous woman?

A: As far as I know.

Q: Do you have a music background?

A: Yeah, we've both performed in the Cities for over 20 years. Close to 30. And then we met at an open blues jam, and then we got married seven months later. So, we've been married for 13, almost 14 years.

Q: What do you play?

T: Guitar, and then she sings. I play guitar, bass, enjoy mandolin. If it's got strings and frets, I'll probably play it. [Chuckles].

Q: So, seven months was a pretty quick romance.

T: When you know, you know.

A: It's funny. He was married before, and he never thought he'd get married again.

T: I did not think so.

A: I had fun being single, and I bought a house. I used to work for Rainbow, forever. And then I met him, and it was just, I don't know.

Q: Where did the idea for a guitar shop come from?

A: So, Rainbow closed. And I was transferred to Byerly's. But I told them, "I can't do this another 20 years."

T: Yeah, I've been working in a guitar store since I was 18. It's all I've ever done. And I had my own store years ago back in the mid-90s down in Northfield, too. Pretty fun.

Q: Why open a shop here?

T: Her dad had been the mailman along this route for over 20 years. He knew everyone up and down the street. We just called one day, and he said: This spot's open, and I think you should really come look at it.

A: We're near the Turf Club. And we're close to Minneapolis. We're in such a perfect location.

Q: Who is your primary customer?

A: Everybody. [laughs] Well, there's so many great shops in town. Everyone has their own shops. And we all call each other and go, "Hey, do you have this? Hey, I'm going to send this guy over." We are the working musicians' store. We don't sell super expensive stuff. It's for the everyday working musician here.

Q: How did you develop that reputation?

A: That's a master luthier [points at Ted].

T: Yeah. When you do repairs for a few decades, you meet so many people. And it's like every business, it's all about relationships. If you know something, and you're not a jerk, you'll probably do OK. You know?

Q: So, tell me about the partnership. What are your roles?

A: I'm in the front, and he's in the back. I can't do anything he does, and he can't do anything I do, as far as being a store manager. All the little things, and all the little big things. But he's a great salesman.

[Ted leaves to help a customer]

Q: When you two were performing, what genre of music did you play?

A: A lot of blues, rock, funk. Classic rock. Just everything. We like to see who's at the clubs now, who's at the venues, and it's starting to be a little younger, so we have to start doing more newer songs. We were at the bar one night a couple weeks ago and this band was playing Guns N' Roses and one of the young people who was next to us said, "My mom used to play this all the time." I'm like, oh my God. I'm so old!

Q: How old are you?

A: He's 53 and I'm 46.

Q: Is there pressure, being the shop of choice for professional musicians?

A: Um, no. You know, we're present. We go to so many shows, and they see us in the crowd. And Ted likes to see how they play. Because when they come in with their instruments, he remembers what they do, and he's like, "Why don't you try this?"

Q: How many people do you have on the wall?

A: Oh, there's like 80. I have more to put up, but we're running out of places to put them.

Q: And they all buy guitars?

T: Yeah. I think, for a lot of guitar players, every guitar has kind of its own personality that might make your playing more like this, or more like that. Not everybody is looking for the one that plays perfect, which doesn't necessarily exist. But they do all make you play a little bit differently, stylistically.