Get to Know Nebraska’s Drum Outfitters with Owner Philip Hendrickson

drum outfitters nebraska logo

The space I found is above a gallery and wine bar on our downtown square, a charming old building with character and 24 steps up to the shop!

Take a peak inside Nebraska’s only dedicated drum shop in the small town of Seward as owner, Philip Hendrickson, answers a few of our questions.

We discuss the store’s history and those that occupied the space before it, Philip’s work prior to opening Drum Outfitters, and topics about running a local drum shop.

Table of Contents

How did Drum Outfitters get its start?

Over the years I’ve experienced the friendly camaraderie between drummers at numerous great drum shops and shows like PASIC and the Chicago Drum Show.

I decided to bring that drum fellowship to my area since my state (Nebraska) currently has no other drum shops and many players can’t get to the big shows which are only a few days each year.

To make the trip to my small town worth taking, my shop specializes in gear from custom drum makers, independent cymbal smiths and other unique percussion accessories – things that are hard for players to find at typical music stores or evaluate when shopping online.

inside drum outfitters nebraska
white rogers drum kit

Making a living solely in the drum industry can be tough, what were you doing prior to opening your shop?

I have had careers in IT, writing, and as a library director.

I am still working in a library while the shop is getting established.

I look forward to retiring from the library and focusing only on drums and drumming.

Any day I get to talk drums with people is a good day. I also play in several local bands.

Tell us about your shop's location and the history before you occupied the space.

To get my fledgling shop off the ground I needed to keep my overhead low.

The space I found is above a gallery and wine bar on our downtown square, a charming old building with character and 24 steps up to the shop!

But the rent is affordable and the landlords support the arts.

The previous occupant was a piano and violin studio which grew to have two other locations, thus vacating this one.

The owners had painted and cleaned, so it was ready when I wanted to move in.

Years ago the space was an apartment. Now the former kitchen is the office, the living room is the sales floor, and the bedroom is set up with two drum kits to teach lessons.

It’s snug but homey. Hopefully our sales will outgrow it, but for now it is a fun place to be.

gretsch snare drum

What are some of the challenges you face running Drum Outfitters?

Everything relating to drums is fun for me. Anything on the business side is a steep learning curve.

With my focus on boutique brands, it is very difficult to discover exciting instruments from so many new makers and realize that I cannot afford to bring them all to my shop, yet.

Do you have a top selling product?

So far I have to say drum heads are the item I have sold the most of locally.

Drummers in the area nearby don’t have many places to examine models in person and find supplies that they need.

Used cymbals also sell well, since players can try them out firsthand and find one they like at a good price.

You mentioned the camaraderie of the drum community earlier, do you have a specific memory you can share with us?

At PASIC 2023 I spoke with many independent makers about carrying their lines at my brand new shop.

All of them were supportive and encouraging and caught the spirit of what I am trying to build.

Several went out of the way to give me advice or help me get started. That positive connection between drummers keeps me going, both on the receiving and giving ends!

Are there any drum trends you are keeping a close eye on?

As already noted, I enjoy following the creative work of independent makers who think outside the box of the larger brands.

The larger companies make quality products, but it is fun to see the indies come up with new and clever solutions to old problems or limitations.

Cymbal smiths in particular are giving drummers far more musical options than were previously available.

Crashers and stacks, for example, allow drummers to simply hit things and get creative sounds without layers of technology that muddy up the creative process.

What can the drum community expect from Drum Outfitters in 2024?

We are looking for more ways to make connections with players, both locally and online.

We are going to offer more lessons and workshops to help drummers better express their musical ideas and connect with each other for mutual support and encouragement.

As our motto says, find your happy groove!

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