Wildwood Music closing its doors

| September 12, 2018

COSHOCTON – Wildwood Music, located in Roscoe Village behind the visitor’s center, will soon be closing its doors with the retirement of co-owners Marty Rodabaugh and Don McKay. The 38-year-old Coshocton business has sold guitars and other wood instruments to both famous country music singers and other musicians and performers from around the world.

“Yes, we’ve had famous people buy their guitars from us, but it’s more about the people who save their money for months and years who are special to us,” said Rodabaugh.

Rodabaugh remembers what it was like to save money to purchase her first guitar.

“I remember struggling as a little Kentucky girl to get my first Martin guitar and I said to my mom and daddy, this is what I want,” said Rodabaugh. “They said, oh you’re just a little country girl. You can’t have that. So I started doing odd jobs around the neighborhood and I remember when I had saved half of it, my daddy came to me and said if I gave up my birthday present and Christmas, I could have my guitar. I still remember I put the case by my bed because I would wake up and I thought it was a lovely dream that I had it. And I’d reach down and touch it and, yes, it’s real.”

Rodabaugh bought her first Martin guitar, never imaging how that first meeting with C.F. Martin III would shape her business in the years to come.

Rodabaugh was a professor at Ohio State in the late 1970s and was then hired as a teacher in Coshocton.

“I just fell in love with Roscoe Village and all the people I met here, all the teachers and students, I just loved everybody,” said Rodabaugh. “I was very impressed with this town.”

Rodabaugh started performing on the mountain dulcimer at different locations during the summer months. People would ask if they could purchase a dulcimer from her and that led Rodabaugh to her first business, selling dulcimers out of her basement. People then started asking if she had guitars for sale, which in turn led her to sell guitars, but starting a Martin dealership wasn’t easy for Rodabaugh.

“They wouldn’t give me a dealership because I was a woman,” said Rodabaugh. “I remember I kept asking to speak with Martin to see if he would remember me from long ago. Finally, they got tired of me calling and let me speak to Martin. I asked him if he remembered the little girl from Kentucky who had bought her first guitar from him and he did. He gave me the dealership and insisted on helping me become the first woman-owned store of Martin guitars.”

Rodabaugh’s store of selling custom-made Martin guitars grew to selling other types of guitars as well as violins, fiddles, mandolins, dulcimers, and harps. She quickly became known for selling more custom-made Martin guitars than anywhere else in the world at the lowest prices.

Rodabaugh purchased the old locke keepers house which was built around 1840 to house her new business. McKay joined her as co-owner in 1988.

“We really started the business to get acoustic guitars into the hands of players at the lowest price,” said McKay. “Martin is so supportive of our efforts here and our hearts are with Martin. I think it’s very important to have that relationship, not only with Martin, but with our customers. That’s what we cherish the most. We’re going to miss the relationships we’ve made with different people.”

The two have made lasting memories from their time as co-owners of Wildwood Music, mostly involving their loyal and friendly customers.

“One of the sweetest memories is from a couple in Pennsylvania who both performed,” said Rodabaugh. “They really liked coming over here to Wildwood and Leanne wanted a new guitar. She was really thinking about it. Greg called us and said he wanted to make a custom guitar and present it to her as a gift and ask her to be his wife. She said yes.”

Another memory Rodabaugh shared was a wife who gifted her husband a new guitar for Christmas.

“One lady wanted to buy her husband a Christmas present and she called and asked what it would cost to buy a D41, which is a very ornate guitar,” said Rodabaugh. “We gave her the price and she came over with him and gave him a Christmas card saying that he could choose any guitar he wanted.”

In their retirement, the two hope to spend more time playing in their group, Wildwood and Friends. McKay is also working on a genealogy book that he plans to spend more time researching in his retirement.

“She [Rodabaugh] and I want to do some more performing,” said McKay. “The Ohio Arts Council has asked us to play for Chautauqua here in the past and we go to other festivals around the country to play for their festivals. It’s fun to share our music with friends.”

No matter where retirement takes Rodabaugh and McKay, they plan to stay in Coshocton and enjoy not having the stress of running a business.

“We love Coshocton,” said Rodabaugh. “We both came here from outside Coshocton. We enjoy being here and the people have been wonderful. We’ve made lasting friendships here.”

Even though the two are retiring, music will always be a part of their lives.

“It’s a spiritual thing and we hear that from our customers,” said Rodabaugh. “One of our customers said that other than worshipping, it’s the closest he’s come to touching the face of God.”

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Category: Business

About the Author ()

I have been employed at the Coshocton County Beacon since September 2009 as a news reporter and assistant graphic artist. I am a 2004 graduate of Newcomerstown High School and a 2008 graduate of Capital University with a bachelor’s degree in Professional Writing. I am married to John Scott and live in Newcomerstown. We have two beautiful daughters, Amelia Grace Scott and Leanna Rose Scott.

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