And changing technology has been beside him all the way.
“We couldn’t do the volume of sales we do if not for technology,” Goode says of Greasy Groove Inc. “When Leo Fender and Gibson started making electric guitars in the 1950s they used hand routers to cut out their material. Today, we use a CNC machine that is not only quicker but has quality standards that are repeatable. Because of the volume we have now there’s no way one person with a router could stand there and do it. He wouldn’t be able to keep up with the demand.”
At one time, Goode would draw the designs he came up with onto a piece of paper and then paint his creation onto a piece of fibre-reinforced plastic, which he then had to cut out manually with a hand-router. Today, he uses a paint program on his computer and a CNC machine that allows him to speed production. He is also able to use a laser, which makes it easier for him to expand his production line to include acrylic pick guards.
Goode says there’s still a lot of manual labour involved in making pick guards, including sanding the product by hand after it comes out of the CNC machine.
After working as an engineer for several years in Alberta, the English-born musician decided several years ago that the corporate culture wasn’t for him. Greasy Groove was born and after several years in Edmonton, the Goodes came to Amherst and set up their company in the former Amherst Piano factory.
From there, his company grew as his clientele expanded throughout Canada and the United States, to Europe, Russia and the Far East. Among his clients is Jerry Cantrel of Alice in Chains.
While it was very diversified at the beginning, and to a certain point still is, Greasy Groove has become specialized in the manufacture of custom-made pick guards. Goode’s company is able to cut any profile and apply graphics to almost anything – something that wasn’t as easily done in the days when everything had to be designed on paper and cut by hand.
Another big influence on his business from a technology standpoint has been the growth of the Internet and online shopping. Goode said Greasy Groove never would have grown had it not been for the World Wide Web since it connected customers from Moscow, to Tokyo, to Nashville to Amherst.
Goode said he and his wife Gill have been to the biggest tradeshows, but online marketing has responsible for most of the increased traffic to its Web site www.greasygroove.com.
Accordingly, so have sales.
“The Internet has become the shop window for what we do. When we started in the business I never thought we’d be selling to the likes of Japan and Korea because that’s where a lot of stuff comes out of,” Goode said. “Not only are we selling there, we’re increasing our markets in places like northern Europe, Australia and Russia has been taking off over the last couple of years.”
As good as the Internet has been for them, it has also caused its share of challenges in terms of the volume of customers looking for their products. Goode said he’s often up until the wee hours of the morning handling sales and preparing the manufacturing process.
It has become so demanding that he and Gill are beginning to look for one or two people to join the business.
For more from the April edition of the Nova Scotia Business Journal, visit http://www.trurodaily.com/media/issues/pdf/15151.pdf.