CARMICHAELS — A loyal customer base and a vision to expand is what one new business owner is hoping is the winning combination for a local iconic business that has just relocated to Carmichaels.
For the past 27 years, although located in somewhat of an unusual setting, the one-and-a-half car garage located on the family’s property on the Crucible Road just outside of Carmichaels has been the home to Larry’s Music Center.
In 1986, the late Larry Zupancich began the business and remained the owner and operator until his death in December of 1992. At that time, his brother, Bernie Zupancich, who had handled the accounting, took over the business in its entirety and ran it successfully for the next 21 years.
“My brother built the business up from nothing,” Bernie Zupancich said. “He gave lessons and built a great foundation.”
“I couldn’t be happier that the tradition is going to continue with Brian Dukate,” he said.
In June, Brian Dukate of Waynesburg purchased Larry’s Music Center from Zupancich, who has decided to retire, and moved the store to its new location in the Carmichaels Plaza at 211 South Vine Street in Carmichaels.
“I just could not see Larry’s Music Center going out of business because so many local musicians supported and wanted a local music store,” Dukate said, “I have been a customer myself since I was a teenager.”
Carmichaels Mayor Michael Dohanich, who also admits to having been a customer of Larry’s Music Center since he was a teenager, recalled on one of his visits to the store when there were cars in the parking lot with license plates from New York, Ohio, West Virginia and Maryland. Dohanich said the store had a great reputation among area musicians.
“I am thrilled this business that has remained an icon among area musicians will be here in the future and is now located in Carmichaels,” Dohanich said.
“We will continue to carry quality, affordable musical instruments for all musicians from the beginner to the skilled musician,” Dukate said, “as well as a full line of cables, cords, mics, parts, and accessories.”
If loyal customers build a good foundation, then expansion may build the future. Dukate plans to offer band instrument rentals in the spring. Currently he is adding more instructors now that he is operating Larry’s Music Center.
Dukate himself will teach entry to intermediate level drums. Teaching fiddle and keyboard will be Libby Eddy. Irvine Rice will be teaching banjo and Gary Antol will be teaching mandolin and guitar.
Antol, a graduate of Duquesne University, was the only student the legendary jazz guitarist and educator Joe Negri ever accepted as a freshman.
“We are so fortunate to be a community based store with such skilled expertise,” Dukate said, speaking of the instructors now affiliated with the music center.
Dukate is planning a big “Back to the Music Grand Re-opening” event the weekend of Sept. 6 and 7. Refreshments will be served both Friday and Saturday and there will be great deals on in stock items such as special deals on guitars, accessories and digital and analog processors for bass and guitar. Come in and check out the clearance items and blow-out prices.
During the Back to the Music Grand Re-opening event, a J. Turser Les Paul copy guitar will be raffled off at noon on Saturday. You must be present to win and have your ticket in hand.
Beginning on Aug. 23 and up to 11 a.m. on Sept. 7, on any qualifying purchase of $20 or more, customers will receive five free tickets toward the drawing at noon on Saturday. Tickets may also be purchased for two dollars each during the grand re-opening event weekend.
If you forget the dates of the Back to the Music Grand Re-opening event, just look for the DeLorean parked out front on Sept. 6 and 7.
“Brian is very energetic and I believe the store could not be in better hands,” Zupancich said. “I know my brother would be pleased.”
For more information about Larry’s Music Center and/or the grand re-opening event, or to discuss rates and availability of lessons, call 724-966-8209.