An unexpectedly chic guitar store. That's what respected music insider and entrepreneur, Cory Lake, got when he married museum curator and creative director of The Bonnie Cashin Foundation, Stephanie Iverson. Their innovative Maple Grove, Minnesota boutique, American Guitar and Band, has garnered national praise from serious musicians and suburban moms alike for its fresh design, exceptional wares and customer service.
It has been written that both Cory and Stephanie have a passion for functional beauty: he appreciates a well-crafted guitar while she admires Bonnie Cashin's practical-yet-fashion-forward handbags and coats. But Stephanie's refined aesthetic is in evidence throughout American Guitar and Band. Note the graphic compositions she creates with products, emphasizing line and color, and the subtle Hollywood Regency (also acoustically correct) carpet. More understated squares and horizontal lines on the ceiling and walls keep customers' eyes stimulated.
The large clock above, Stephanie told me, is notable too. "It is from Donaldson’s, the department store where my grandfather was President. My parents fell in love through the store -- my mom worked in the fashion office, my dad dated the models and she thought he was unbearably arrogant until they worked on a fashion show together. Who knows how many times they may have crossed paths under the clock, pretending to ignore one another."
Ultimately Stephanie found the piece in a local antique store, and for two years she tried to figure out how to use a four-foot tall, four-sided clock. "When we built American Guitar and Band, I could finally bring it home."
And speaking of coming full circle, the dynamic Lake duo is working with accessories master, Carlos Falchi, on a line of bespoke guitar straps. Carlos’ first work was designing stage wear for musicians -- The Rolling Stones, Miles Davis, Tina Turner, Jerry Garcia -- and Stephanie's first job was selling his bags at Neiman Marcus. Chic really is where you find it.
Photography above is by Pete Crouser and courtesy Stephanie Lake, as seen in the May issue of Music Trades. Read the story for more on the Lakes' shop.