MILLERSPORT – To hear her describe it, she had an artistic childhood – with an entrepreneurial spirit.
“I was a boisterous artist,” stated Jessica Spires. “A loud dresser. I wrote plays and had friends perform them. I painted and sketched all the time. My grade card always came home with ‘talks in class.’ I loved music and the arts. Sang in the choir. I dreamed about being a pop star like Cyndi Lauper, Boy George, Madonna, Diamond Dave. MTV generation. I loved getting ideas for art and taking in all the music.”
“At 16,” she continued, “I worked as a waitress in a hotel dinner/bar. We had a singer/songwriter guy come in and perform on the weekends. I loved listening to him. The idea of being able to write songs on a guitar seemed perfect. I could share art that way! He showed me a few chords. But I didn’t end up with my own guitar until I was 23. It was hideous! A coworker was selling it cheap. But a few years later I sold it and bought a cheap acoustic at the local music store and learned a few songs. I’m still a hack when it comes to playing but I love all things guitars.”
Today, Spires owns and operates Guitar Parts Factory.
“Textbooks, household items, motorcycle parts, skateboards, art and guitars – I tried selling it all on eBay,” she said. “And I had some luck, but nothing was more interesting than guitars. Especially when I got a Fender guitars dealership in 2003. I am a mega-fan! Technology from the 50s and 60s that really needed little change all these years. Leo Fender and this American success story really captured me.”
Spires grew up in Zanesville, graduated from Philo High School in 1992, then Ohio University in 2001.
“I set out to be an art teacher,” she said. “I worked at the Longaberger basket factory while I put myself through school. I decided later to switch to political science, the goal being to live in Athens, OH and be a political science professor.”
“I started selling textbooks on half.com in 1999,” she added, “and realized I had some promise in internet sales. Changing my major a few times, I ended up with tons of credits and years in school and couldn’t afford textbooks. I bought mine by buying and selling to classmates. I used the new technology of half.com as an outlet to buy and sell, which then led me to eBay. After earning my political science degree, I quit the basket factory and felt done with college. I opened a little skateboard, art and music store.”
Which, of course, meant guitars.
“I love guitars,” she noted. “Especially Stratocaster and Telecasters! I can’t really imagine working in any other industry. I also love supporting the arts and musicians. Listening to live music and the local bars and restaurants and checking out their guitars is certainly my kind of fun! Recently my husband has been playing around the Buckeye Lake area more. It’s fun getting to know more of the local musicians and getting out of the shop.”
“I’ve spent my life as a professional musician,” said her husband, David Spires, a Nashville Road musician and songwriter. “In all my travels, I’ve never met anyone who knows more about guitar parts than Jessica. She loves representing the classic American brand of Fender, but her knowledge incorporates the best the industry has to offer.”
“I leave the guitar playing to him and I collect, learn about, and sell guitars,” Jessica responded. “I take out the trash, build a website, ship the parts, answer spec questions by email, import parts – whatever needs done in a 12-hour day.”
For more information, log on www.guitarpartsfactory.com.
Aces of Trades is a weekly series focusing on people and their jobs – whether they’re unusual jobs, fun jobs or people who take ordinary jobs and make them extraordinary. If you have a suggestion for a future profile, let us know at email@example.com or 740-328-8821.
This article originally appeared on Newark Advocate: Aces: Spires combines love of art and business at Guitar Parts Factory