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Meet the Merchant: Jay Hostetler

Meet the Merchant: Jay Hostetler

by Jay Hargreaves

Originally published in American Lutherie #91, 2007

Founded in 1968 by C.E. “Kix” Stewart and Bill MacDonald, Stewart-MacDonald started off selling banjo parts and being innovative. Almost forty years later, Stew-Mac is are still being innovative, and still selling banjo parts. But now they also offer hundreds of tools, parts, and materials for all kinds of luthiers.

Jay, where were you raised?

On a farm outside Athens, Ohio. I spent a lot of time in the woods. My dad’s a wood sculptor, and taught at Ohio University, a small college in Athens. So I grew up around artists and wood and nature. It’s a nice setting.

In high school, about 1973, I started working in a furniture place. I enjoyed that, and I started making furniture. After high school I was going to go to the School for American Craftsmen in Rochester, New York. But they had a waiting list, and while I was waiting I started working at StewMac doing woodworking. At that time, all we did was banjos, mainly banjo kits. That was about 1977, so they were still riding the banjo wave of Deliverance.

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