Second place is music to the ears
There’s plenty of work going on at Lee’s Music this week.
Down in the basement, staff are starting to create 40 Riversong guitars that will head to market in a couple of weeks.
And, while finishing first in the BDC Young Entrepreneur Award contest would have helped with production, second place is just fine with Mike Miltimore.
Miltimore was one of eight finalists — winnowed down from 580 original entrants — in the annual event that sees the winner receive $100,000 to put toward production of a product.
He lost to an entrepreneur in Halifax who operates coffee shops and will be creating a roastery in each to promote buying beans directly from farmers in Central and South America.
Miltimore’s product is the Riversong guitar, an instrument with a unique construction design that reduces the number of support struts required — increasing the resonating area of the guitar — and redesigns the neck to allow for real-time tuning and set-up.
He has applied for a worldwide patent and has one dealer lined up already with Blue Dog Guitars in North Vancouver.
Three others have asked about being dealers once there are enough guitars to hit the market.
That’s been easier said than done.
With the increased attention on the guitar — the contest was decided by online voting and relied heavily on social media — Miltimore has had plenty of interest.
He even ran out of wood at one point recently, requiring a quick trip to Chilliwack to buy more.
“It’s been pretty exciting,” Miltimore said.
“I’ve ordered more equipment to keep up with the demand we’ve already seen.
Second place brings with it $25,000, to be used for Internet market and strategy consulting.
Scott Speiser, vice-present of BDC’s B.C. and Yukon division, praised Miltimore’s passion in promoting what Speiser called a “revolutionary product.”
Speiser said BDC, in addition to providing financing and loans to small- and medium-sized businesses, looks for entrepreneurs like Miltimore, who have a strong idea and the drive to see it through to completion.
Speiser and Miltimore praised Kamloops, as well, noting how the community rallied around the contest and promoted it heavily to increase the number of online votes for the guitar.
Miltimore in particular ramped up his marketing, seeing his Facebook friends list grow substantially, dressing up a vintage car to drive around town promoting the guitar — and turning his civic duty into a promotional opportunity.
At one point during the three-week online campaign, a truck was stolen in the city and abandoned in front of Miltimore’s house.
The police arrived and asked him what he saw of the incident.
He answered their questions, Miltimore said.
“And, then I went, ‘Hey, how many of you are there down at the detachment?’
“I gave them some pamphlets and told them to have everyone vote for me.”