Humboldt State Alumnus keeps small music shop legacy alive
Music is a big part of Arcata and Wildwood Music has been an Arcata staple for 40 years.
Errol Previde, an HSU alumnus, owns and runs the Wildwood Music Stores, which first opened its doors back in 1974.
Arcata is a creatively gifted town with artists from all walks of life.
You would be hard pressed to walk downtown on Friday nights and not see a plethora of musicians performing in the streets or at local businesses. Local bands also perform at the Farmer’s Mark every Saturday.
Previde bought the store from its previous owners on the 30 year anniversary of its opening.
“I had worked here in college so I was friends with them from back then.” he said. “I was having my first kid right around that time, so it just sort of worked out for me.”
Previde’s focus for the store since he took over has been primarily on the sale and repair of instruments.
“We sell used stuff, we sell new stuff, we’re a dealer for Martin and Taylor guitars, two really big guitar lines,” he said. “We try to carry a little bit of everything. We get a lot of trade ins, with people wanting something we have and they having something they want to get rid of.”
Previde said he has four or five permanent employees working at the store.
One of his employees, Anthony Taibi, began working at the store 10 years ago. Taibi was a musician moving in to town and happened to know the old owners, but Previde was the one that hired him, turning him from a customer into an employee.
“I used to come in a lot and sell my gear here,” Taibi said. “They liked what I was selling and figured I might be a good fit for the shop.”
At Arcata’s center, Wildwood draws people in with its free nature. Errol has no issue with people coming in and trying the instruments, even the expensive ones. He also said the increase in students coming in to the city every autumn helps the store. Business booms every year during that time.
One of the regular customers who often plays at Wildwood Music is Taz Trancid, who goes by his artist name “Tazmaniac.”
“I’ve been playing music for a very long time so I know what I’m doing,” Tazmaniac said. “I think for me, music is just a feeling.”
Tazmaniac plays in several bands and hopes to one day be a Metaliniost. He said whenever he is in town, Wildwood is the only music store as far as he is concerned.
Although it’s becoming increasingly difficult for local businesses to stay open, the artistic community of Arcata band together to support Wildwood Music, allowing them to keep their doors open for forty years and more.