Imagine one day you get a job. You think it’s only gonna be for a few months and then you’ll move on.
Then you look up -- and 25 years have gone by. Were you under a spell, an enchantment of sorts? Esther Marron, the No. 1 employee at Fender's Ensenada, Mexico, factory, can answer that question.
As the only employee who has been at the factory since its opening 25 years ago, Esther’s longevity with Fender is attributed to many positive factors.
“I took this position with Fender as a six-month job,” says Esther, who has an administration position at Fender. “At the beginning, I was doing two things -- the Red Cross Brigade and Fender. I started winding strings, and it wasn’t here in the factory you can see now. It was in a warehouse we had before. We were seven employees. After a year working in strings, I got an opportunity to work in the offices.”
Over those 25 years, the Ensenada factory has produced many iconic guitars, including the Kurt Cobain Jaguar, Roger Waters Signature Precision Bass and the Road Worn Series. Today they focus on a wide swath of guitar goodness, including the Fender Blacktop Series, the Pawnshop series (Hey, I play one of those), the Guild Arcos Series (I want to play one of those … hint, hint), the EVH amplifier series and a whole bunch more.
As you can imagine, the processes in making these products are quite varied, and the Fender standards are exacting. From Esther’s perspective, though, it’s the people at the factory that make all the difference.
“I’ve been here most of my life here at Fender. For me, it’s a very important feeling. It’s like my family. But my husband and nephew work here as well. I am very proud to work here.”
You might have mixed feelings about a Mexican Strat. You might have mixed feelings about many, many guitars and amps and effects on the market today. Who doesn’t? But I do have this to say: During my visit to the factory for its 25th anniversary celebration, I could tell Fender has had a positive impact on the community and its employees. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
So have some tequila, pick up your guitar, and toast to 25 years!
Check out these photos of Esther Marron, some Mexican-made Fender gear and a shot or two from the massive celebration that marked the factory’s 25th anniversary.
Laura B. Whitmore is a singer/songwriter based in the San Francisco bay area. A veteran music industry marketer, she has spent over two decades doing marketing, PR and artist relations for several guitar-related brands including Marshall and VOX. Her company, Mad Sun Marketing, represents 65amps, Dean Markley, Agile Partners, Guitar World and many more. Laura was instrumental in the launch of the Guitar World Lick of the Day app. She is the co-producer of the Women's Music Summit and the lead singer for the rock band, Summer Music Project. More at mad-sun.com.