Avenue Guitars is currently operating on an appointment-only basis. Learn more here.

About Avenue Guitars

After more than 40 years, Avenue Guitars is closing its doors. We had a great run, and we're excited for the next chapter. Thanks for everything!

Avenue Guitars began life as the Original Folklore Center. Founded in 1972 by Bob Coward, the shop was primarily geared towards repair, used, and vintage instruments. From the start, the store's interesting selection and friendly, laid-back atmosphere made it a go-to for local musicians.

Gene Cole and John Ramsey in the late 1970s

In 1974, John Ramsey moved to Colorado Springs and started working at the Folklore Center doing repair and sales. He quickly gained a reputation as a meticulous craftsman and all-around nice guy.

John Ramsey in the early days of Avenue Guitars

A couple years after John joined the crew, Bob decided to sell. He offered the store to John and Gene, who readily agreed. The three worked out a guitars-for-pay arrangement and eventually John and Gene became the new owner of the Original Folklore Center.

Shortly after purchasing the store, Gene had to leave Colorado Springs for family reasons and John became the sole owner.

Avenue Guitars, Mid-1980s

Over time, John expanded the store's scope from used and vintage instruments to include new products from top brands.

In 2012, John's son, Sean, stepped in to help manage the shop and build its web presence, which would grow to become a vital part of the store's business. 

In 2018, John and Sean relocated to nearby Manitou Springs and resumed business as Avenue Guitars.

John retired in 2021 after more than 40 years running the store, and Sean now operates the shop as an online-based business.

In 2022, Sean decided to wind down Avenue Guitars to pursue other interests. While he's excited to embark on a new chapter in life, he'll always be grateful for the wonderful people he met and the time he got to spend with his dad through the years.

About Sean

Sean has worked at Avenue Guitars throughout high school and college, but in 2012 he came on board full time to help manage the shop and figure out this crazy "internet" thing everybody seemed to be talking about.

While Sean didn't inherit his dad's affinity for the 5-string banjo, he enjoys hiking, working on websites, playing piano, and Pendleton whiskey.


About John

Originally from the Sierra Nevadas region of California, John traveled east in the '70s to play banjo in a bluegrass band.

In addition to his wide ranging knowledge of acoustic instruments, John has built over 200 guitars, ukuleles, mandolins, and banjo necks. These days his primary interest lies in building his Ramsey mandolins and ukuleles under the Palm Tree Ukulele name.

These days, John is enjoying his retirement, which includes building, tinkering with his banjo(s), walking his dog Charley, traveling with his wife Pam to Hawaii, and Pendleton whiskey.

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