I am about to sound like a fanboy, so for full disclosure: Ben and I are friends since I started learning from him. Other than that, I have no affiliation and do not benefit in any way from Ben’s store successes. With that out of the way…
I am browsing through Ben’s store and it was STUNNING how many things Ben stocks that are staple items for me. There are a bazillion picks in the world, most of which do me no good. There was only ONE pick at the store that I know I don’t like (Golden Gate flat pick… just not the tone I look for). But more to the point… EVERY pick that I have used normally for many years are available (BC, Ultex, Ultex Primetone and Wegen). I know of no other stores that stock all those… I suspect they exist, but I haven’t been there. Many oddballs that I found useful for a purpose over the years are represented (Fred Kelly speed pick, felt pick). Not much fluff there either. It is like the pick selection is a “Best of” album. If I decided to start playing banjo, I have high confidence that I could avoid a bunch of trying different picks and just ask Jake to send me what I need. That is a huge benefit.
On other items, it’s all good stuff. For strings, you have the Honda Accords for guitar (EJ17) and mandolin (EJ74). There are a ton of strings to do different things, but those are the strings I recommend to folks if they are looking for a great, all-purpose string (along with EJ16 for more strumming oriented folks).
Accessories, same deal… all my favorites are there. Instruments… check, I wish Ben had the store years ago when I was in accumulate mode or even when i was doing group lessons.
I haven’t been in the market for much so I hadn’t spent much time in the store as it ramped up, but now that I have, I gotta say that it is really impressive. You can’t stock everything in the world, but the “best of” mentality makes it seem like a no-brainer place to get stuff. I look forward to trying some things from the store I haven’t yet experienced (monel mando strings, some different capos, etc.). I’ll be steering folks to the store for instrument purchases as well. I haven’t played Jake’s setups, but I have heard nothing but great reviews (which is a huge factor in how much new players will spend with their instruments).
One suggestion for an item to stock: Cut capos (my personal preference on this is Kyser). Seems like a bunch of worship folks around here, and cut capos are a perfect fit for many of the worship songs in A or E. Cut capos are tough to find, and folks often ask me where to get them.
Ben and Jake: well done!