Santa Cruz SBDC

Santa Cruz Guitar Company

“Our gratitude for essential support and guidance through the application process for EIDL and PPP., and for valuable and ongoing advisory by SBDC specialists for business valuation, exit strategy, fiscal planning, and general business sense. Special thanks to Doug Deaver, Michael Balstad, Steve Rolf, Brandon Napoli, Stacy Patyk and the many who made the navigation of SBA’s non intuitive systems possible.”

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Santa Cruz Guitar Company promises a unique and personal experience by selling handmade customizable guitars, while also upholding noble morals, such as sustainability and ethicality. Its founder, Richard Hoover, discovered his passion for guitar making at a young age after a spark of curiosity for learning how guitars worked, which led him to take one apart and put it back together. Richard’s wish from the very beginning was to make a difference in the world, and going on to become such a respectable guitar maker helped him achieve his goal of positively impacting the Santa Cruz community.


Fast forward to 1976, he went on to become a luthier and founded Santa Cruz Guitar Company, which would soon enough build a name for itself within the boutique guitar market. However, due to Hoover’s desire to deliver good quality sounds and a personalised experience, as well as ensuring a certain level of sustainability, the Santa Cruz Guitar Company was forced to compete with mass producing companies making 120000 to 1000000 guitars a year, while their production accounted for around 500 guitars. On top of that, the lack of networking, and navigating a field like that of guitar making where not a lot of information was accessible, posed multiple challenges to Richard.


Richard has been with us since 1989, a tumultuous time internationally and locally, with an earthquake in Santa Cruz that knocked down the whole downtown area out of business, which led him to the SBDC, where he was assisted in getting a loan to recover from that natural disaster.


More recently, during the pandemic, because Richard’s company had been declining for a year and his business’ guitar production had gone from ⅞ down to 6, he relentlessly tried to network with other businesses in order to navigate the SBDC’s portals to learn about the possible financial relief alternatives available to them. Moreover, Richard’s team was experiencing some trouble with calculating their Gross Processing Margin(GPM) and the inventory on hand, while also undergoing a decrease in cash. After meeting with our SBDC counselors, including Steven Roth and Larry Hebert, some actions taken involved helping Richard get funded and assisting him with the EIDL program process, as well as providing insight on book keeping and inventory management.
With the SBDC’s assistance and some adjustments, Santa Cruz Guitar Company was able to achieve a $300000 increase in sales in 2022, while also increasing their full time staff by 4. Not only that, but they were also approved for the COVID-19 Paycheck Protection Program for $220000, and the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan for $160000. According to Richard, this opened a whole new world of counseling areas offered by the SBDC that he had been overlooking, like getting to know the strengths and weaknesses of his business to keep improving his business, and to offer his clients a remarkable product and experience.


Richard Hoover is now a highly reputable guitar maker who, despite the hardships endured by his business during the pandemic, still continued to pay his employees for as long as he could, which goes to show the value of paying forward, and proves Santa Cruz Guitar Company goes beyond a business opportunity, but it is rather a community built family dedicated to making the world a better place, where guitars serve as the vehicle to meaningful connections with people to guarantee the fulfillment of their own goals.