BridgeSet Sound is a tucked-away treasure on the otherwise busy and flashy South Street, Philadelphia. Inspire was lucky enough to learn about their story, their love for their ever-evolving city, and the music that moves them.
So, how did you find out about Inspire?
Steve Harner: We signed up with Inspire at the Pumpkin Festival in Headhouse Square. Our booths were right across the street from each other, and we were able spend a good portion of the day with the Inspire sales reps - we really connected with them and the Inspire mission.
Tell us a little about your store on South Street.
Steve: We have been in business for 5 years total and 4 of those years were spent at this brick and mortar location. I went to college for Recording at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana, but grew up in York, Pennsylvania. I knew I would always want to return to the east coast after college. Right out of college I was hired by Korg’s education division called SoundTree, and was building music tech labs in schools across the country. A music technology lab is a school computer lab focused on composition, recording and production. Labs include components found in recording studios.
I ended up starting my own business doing the exact same thing for Korg after they restructured their organization. After my wife and I got married, we wanted to start something else that would complement and supplement what we were doing inside of these schools, and that’s how BridgeSet was born. We wanted this to be a place where we could provide the local community with musical education, expertise, and gear.
We didn’t have much when we first opened, but we did have a big, wood tree with Kala ukuleles hanging from it. That tree helped us learn how to run the retail side of things while expanding our inventory. The ukulele is a very accessible, fun instrument that was designed to be communal from inception. We are growing from being “the ukulele store on South Street” to “the music store on South Street that happens to have a lot of ukuleles.”
What else do you two do here?
Steve: I break it up into a few categories: retail, lessons, commercial sound systems, sound treatment, and the music technology labs. We are working hard right now to grow our commercial endeavours, and have worked on a few new spaces in Philadelphia such as Martha and Banh Mi and Bottles.
Steve: I love Philadelphia. I love what’s happening here, all the way from the progress in City Hall to the momentum of our community organizers. I’ve followed the developments of the city very closely since I arrived, and the city is doing exactly what they set out to do. I can’t help but be inspired and impressed by its momentum, and I love that we get to be apart of it.
Have you taken any other steps towards being a more sustainable business?
Steve: Besides working with Inspire, we’ve done small things, such as getting the Nest Thermostat System. That’s helped us save some money and control the temperature more appropriately. Generally, we just try not to be obnoxious with waste and consumption.
What are your three favorite artists right now?
Steve: Ah too many! The 3 modern artists I always find myself going back to are Wild Belle, Portugal. The Man and Margot & the Nuclear So and So’s.
Inspire is all about creating a lasting impact. What impact do you hope to have on the community your serve?
Steve: We want to have an impact on the overall health and wellness of our community and clients. Playing and/or listening to music invokes all types of emotions in an individual. In the current climate, we have found people like to escape to our store where they can play music and interact with a mix of people and instruments. We aim to inspire and educate; to be an accessible, relatable music store that inspires people to pick up an instrument and play. We see all ages from all walks of life coming in every day and trying something new leaving with a smile on their face.
Pick up and play a ukulele at:
710 South St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
Phone: (267) 507-4350