It's a common refrain in the business world: When one person closes a business, another sees the opportunity to open one.

At least that's how it worked for 30-year-old Mike Judge. A computer software programmer by trade, Judge wanted to open a music store, even though he has no formal musical training or experience.

Judge saw his chance in July 2012 after Ed Johnson closed his Music Exchange store at 303 E. Pikes Peak Ave. Judge tried to contact Johnson about taking over his store. When that didn't work out, Judge opened Moondog Music Shop in Old Colorado City.

"I just wanted to get into business for myself, and when Music Exchange closed, it was kind of an aha moment for me, and that is what I wanted to do," Judge said.

After a year and a half, Judge recently moved his store to a bigger space at 2702-A West Colorado Ave.

Moondog employee Rick Starkey said the original store's space was about 800 square feet. The new space is 2,200 square feet, which allows Judge to display more of his $50,000 in guitars, ukuleles, banjos, mandolins, violins and most other stringed instruments. The new location also gives Moondog enough space to offer private and group music lessons during the day, not just at night - something the shop couldn't do at the first location.

"We had to do lessons after we closed because we had to do them out on the showroom floor," Starkey said.

Johnson blamed the economy when he closed his store in 2012. Judge believes the economy has improved and will continue to do so, allowing his shop to thrive.

Judge also believes he can fill a void left by Music Exchange's closing that will help him compete against a town filled with music stores that includes Graner Music School, Guitar Center, Meeker Music, Music Central and ProSound. He said his store in Old Colorado City is far enough away from those on North Academy and Powers boulevards that they are not a threat to his store.

Being on West Colorado Avenue also puts space between Judge's store and Meeker Music on Tejon Street. He also is staying out of Meeker's market.

"They do a lot of band instruments," Judge said. "We don't do any brass or woodwind instruments at this time."


Contact Ned Hunter: 636-0275