Longtime local music store Sunrise Guitars set to close

( Courtesy photo)

A guitar store that has served Fayetteville for the better part of the last five decades will soon close its doors.

Sunrise Guitars is liquidating its inventory in preparation to close before the end of the year, according to a recent post on the company’s Facebook page.

The shop got its start in Fayetteville as Ben Jack’s Arkansas Music. Ben Jack, a well-known pedal steel guitar player who toured with several established country acts in his day, opened Ben Jack’s in 1965 in Fort Smith, before expanding to Fayetteville in the early 1970s. Jack passed away in 2009, and his wife Shirley and s handful of dedicated employees looked after the store until 2014 when it was purchased by locals Don Nelms and business partners David Nelms and Roy Shorter.

The new owners moved the store into its current location, the former Adventure Subaru dealership in Fayetteville at 2781 N. College Ave., and changed the name to Sunrise Guitars.

“We chose Sunrise Guitars because it represents new beginnings, and sunrises have been a consistent theme in my photography over the years,” Don said at the time.

The owners decided to close the store after their biggest brands – Martin and Taylor acoustic guitars – both notified them that they would begin selling their instruments direct to customers, according to the announcement.

“Thank you to all of our faithful customers that have supported Sunrise Guitars for the last 9 years,” the announcement reads.

A liquidation sale is underway, with new merchandise marked down by 20% as the store winds down its business in Fayetteville.

Once it closes, the building will be home to a charitable organization called the Nelms Foundation that, according to the website, “will focus on providing ways to improve the dyslexic experience for children and adults and advance conservation.”