From 1917 to 1984 this address was a piece of guitar heaven.
It’s where Gibson manufactured their instruments before uprooting production to Nashville, then spreading to Bozeman in 1989 and Memphis in 2001.
A few years before Gibson left a handful of guys started plotting their next move, creating their own guitar company. One has to think if they were seeing or hearing the writing was on the wall for Gibson in Kalamazoo…?
So after Gibson left in 1984 Jim Deurloo, Marv Lamb, and JP Moats founded Heritage Guitars. The guys were able to buy a lot of the old Gibson equipment at auction and keep production at 225 Parsons where it continues today.
Not surprising, their core models are very Gibson-esque and Heritage has a solid reputation as a small-scale, made in the USA builder, with lots of hands-on processes.
Roy Clark was an early proponent and endorser for Heritage.
The story of Heritage is surely a poster child for the Kalamazoo Chamber of Commerce, but like so many guitar companies it becomes less homebody and more corporate as time goes on.
Ownership changed in 2016 and with it came the plan to expand international sales. That of course comes with bean counters and the necessity to scale production.
Nonetheless, it’s a kick butt story. A bunch of Gibson dudes plan to start their own guitar company, buy equipment from their former employer on the cheap, and make killer USA guitars.
The first model in 1985 was the H-140. Why reinvent the wheel?