KUDOS: Rupp’s Drums Featured in Modern Drummer Magazine!
Interview by Patrick Berkery: It was always a goal of Alex Simpson’s to be featured in Modern Drummer, though not necessarily as the owner of a drum shop. “I imagined being like Taylor Hawkins, on the cover,” says Simpson. But fate had slightly different plans for him. At the relatively tender age of twenty-six, Simpson bought Rupp’s Drums, where he shopped when he was growing up and worked as a sales manager before heading to New York City to make a go of it as a session drummer. With the potential of more session work in Los Angeles, Simpson planned to relocate but never reached his destination. On the cross-country trek from New York to L.A. in late 2017, a pit stop in Denver to visit family for the holidays turned into a permanent stay when Simpson heard Rupp’s was for sale. Several months later, he was the owner. Simpson spoke with MD about the challenges he’s faced so far, and his plans moving forward.
“I’ve always had the business bug,” Alex Simpson says. “I’ve always had the entrepreneurial vibe. It’s kind of what you have to do if you’re going to be a gigging professional drummer. I always thought that if I never did anything with it, I’d regret it. That was one of the reasons I bought the store.
“There’s a list of fifty or sixty store improvement projects that I have going,” says Simpson.
“There’s no aspect of this store that exists that I don’t have an improvement plan for. I’ve got a five-year plan; I’ve got a ten-year plan.”
When I decided I wanted to buy the store, I called a colleague whose rehearsal studio business I managed when I lived in Denver. I didn’t know where to start. She said you write a business plan that [the banks] cannot ignore. I shut myself in for about two weeks and wrote a fifty-page document with everything from how the store would be stocked to how I’d staff the place to what kind of money we were going to make. I shopped it around to twelve different banks. Some of them laughed me out the door, some of them took me seriously, and we whittled it down to the ones who would take me all the way to the SBA [Small Business Association] loan submission phase.
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