"Although the business did not open until March 1988, the story of “The Rock Inn” really starts in 1979, when I travelled from Melbourne to Perth on tour with my band and fell in love with Perth, and Western Australia. After 3 months of solid touring and gigging in the West we headed back, but my trusty ’68 Dodge truck only made it to Ceduna before warping the head and having a total cardiac arrest. The truck then had to be towed to Adelaide and then put on the rail to get it home, needless to say all the touring funds were gone and then some! I then got a job in a music shop to pay off the debts and eight years later, with nothing except experience, a few dollars, my grandfathers EH (he didn't need it anyway), and a removal truck of tasty gear I had been collecting, I made it back to W.A to open at shop at Roberts Road, Subiaco.
The Rock Inn has always had one focus, to be different from everyone else. A vision which remains the same to this day. In the late 80’s we were the amongst first selling PRS, Charvel/Jackson, Trace Elliot, Ampeg to the public (to name a few) and within a short time became the top stockist of Rickenbacker guitars. We were the first Vintage guitar store to open in Perth, selling vintage and used gear imported from the UK and USA, which at the time was very hard to come by. In 1990 we opened another store in Applecross – which gave us the roots of our now-strong customer base south of the river. In 1993 an opportunity arose to combine the two stores into one big store - so both businesses were shifted to a larger premises. In late 1993, The Rock Inn was opened on Hay Street, Subiaco where we had great success in expanding the shop and level of stock, until August 1997 when we finally moved to our current location on Beaufort St, Mount Lawley - which with three large showrooms, had even more space for our growing collection of guitars and amplifiers.
After speaking at length with many customers about the availability of quality acoustic guitars in Perth, 2002 saw the opening of “The Acoustic Inn” - a specialist Acoustic store dedicated to one thing only, quality acoustic guitars! Stocking all the famous brands under one roof, The Acoustic Inn provided a place for dedicated acoustic players to play at length, and have access to specialist products and accessories. It’s a fantastic building being an old 1930’s Garage with exposed wooden truss roofing - the only problem being you cant hear the guitars in heavy showers, thanks to the old 30’s tin roof.Both stores are next door to each other, making it easy to check out guitars, and then more guitars… because that’s all we sell! I often have customers share their experience of purchasing of a guitar from one of the many Rock Inn stores over the last 2 decades. Surprisingly, I can normally remember each instrument down to the fine details! If you have an interesting story about visiting the shop, I would love to hear it. The Rock Inn is a guitar players store run by guitar players, and that’s the way it’s going to stay!”
A Changing of the Guard. 2018 to present...
In October 2018 Andrew retired and his son Shaun too over running the business but his story also goes back many years.
"Shaun started hanging around the shop from a very young age, mainly making box forts and playing on the drum kits which were for sale in the bottom room (that is now The Acoustic Inn). At school Shaun was already playing flute and saxophone but at the age of 12 he decided that the guitar was going to be his instrument of choice. He started on a Samick Strat copy and was permanently hooked! This in turn led to Shaun working part time on Saturdays (in 2003) where he began soaking up anything and everything related to guitars and amplifiers including brands, models, history and repairs.
Shaun continued to work at the shop part time all throughout his school years with a never-ending procession of guitar upgrading - Fernandes Strat, Gibson SG, Gibson Flying V, Jackson RR1 and many more. During this time we also entered the digital world with the establishment of our first website and I knew there were challenges ahead when a teenage Shaun had to write down the instructions for me on how to upload digital images onto our computer. Thank fully it was a fast learning curve (I still have his handwritten sheet).
This was the start of a more serious working partnership and when Shaun completed his degree at University he transitioned from working part-time to full-time employment and together we grew the business domestically and took it further into the online world.
Around 2014 Shaun and I began to naturally shift roles to reflect a greater working partnership with both of us making joint decisions on products and business direction. This gradually led to the question of business succession and in 2016 Shaun began to transition to actively running the shop from behind the scenes. In October 2018, we made it official and I sold The Rock Inn to Shaun and semi-retired. It's been a wonderful working journey and both of us are very thankful to all our customers past and present for all the friendships and support going forward"
- Andrew McIlroy, The Rock Inn