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With Emmett's passing in November, a family business stays in the family

Grace Chapman, Emmett's youngest daughter, has been working for Stick Enterprises consistently since the late 1980s, but in truth her involvement goes back even farther than that.  She’s started building the original wooden pickup housings for her Dad at age 12, and has been listening to him play music for as long as she can remember.   It’s fair to say that she’s been preparing for this moment her whole life.  They both have.

For the past 12 years or so Grace has been doing much of the final fretwork and setups on production instruments and almost all of the repair work. It’s true that Emmett has been checking the instruments before they go out the door, and it’s also true that much of the time over those 12 years the instrument went without him making any changes to her work.  So if you've gotten a new Stick or had a repair done in that time, there's a good chance the last person who worked on it was Grace.  She knows how Emmett wanted the instruments to play, and how to get them there, and keep them there.  Most people who have frequented Stick Enterprises's shop have had a chance to get to know her.  Though she has mostly been working "behind the scenes", over her many years here, she's been building relationships with suppliers and customers alike.            

Here are some impressions from longtime Stick players:

Don Schiff

      “Grace has always been the infinite help for my instruments wether it is in repair, adjustments or purchases.  If there were a five star best rating I give her a 10! Give her a call, introduce yourself… get ready for the 'best' for all your needs." 

Tom Griesgraber
      "I actually don’t remember first meeting Grace Chapman.  It's probably because she was just always there in the background at Stick Enterprises in my early years as a Stick player.  While her mother ran the office and her father was busy refining and putting the finishing touches on instruments, Grace was always down in the shop getting new instruments together and refurbishing older ones.  To say hello to Grace back then usually meant you had to have a reason to go further behind the scenes and into the real heart of the operations. It's never not been busy there in the shop and I've always felt like I needed a really good reason to interrupt them there.   But secretly I've always liked seeing what they're up to.  Occasionally, Grace would also run the front office and customer service as well and it was then that I maybe started to know her a bit better.
      One part her mother's personal and caring nature, another part her father's rich knowledge and experience plus an attention to details that matches or maybe even surpasses them both.  There's no part of the business Grace hasn't been a part of and no part of it I've ever known her to not excel at.  Over my 24 plus years as a Stick player now, people would occasionally ask me about the future of this instrument invented and made in a family home.  All I can say is I think the future looks good from here.""

Greg Howard 
      "Every time I talk to Grace she illuminates some aspect of Stick setup that I never thought of.   Her knowledge of the instrument is both wide and deep.   And when it comes to the innovation of the instrument,  I always feel like I'm being considered and appreciated, no matter how far out my ideas or suggestions may be."

Gene Perry 
      "I lost my ironwood 10-string full grid Chapman Stick after a fire that totaled my house in 1993.  I also almost lost my Paduak 10-string in that same fire, but thankfully Grace was able to save what had been all but destroyed. Looking back, I realize now, she resurrected it.
      The damage to the instrument was severe.  The case had melted from the extreme heat, fusing itself in many places across the beam, the headstock, body and pickup.  While I was already devastated from the loss of my ironwood Stick, I knew it couldn't hurt to see if Stick Enterprises could repair the instrument.  Sure enough, they took it in.
      When it was ready, I picked up the instrument to find that it had been reborn.  The areas that had been irreparably damaged were repaired and the feel of the instrument was like brand new, a phoenix rising.
      Grace has been repairing and setting up Chapman Sticks as long as I have been playing them. She once said, 'the more beat up, the better' and I believe her.  She'll spend more time with these instruments than most players will in a lifetime, it's in her DNA - there's no one who understands the Chapman Stick more than her."

      


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