Change is good, according to Pacific Music owner Gary Weyand.
After 22 years on downtown Redmond’s Cleveland Street, he recently lost his lease to make way for an apartment building.
But Weyand said the move to a new location at 15935 Redmond Way has actually increased the store’s visibility. And he views the downtown mixed-use construction boom — increasing both residential and retail density — as a positive thing: “Just think of all the people who’ll live within walking distance.”
Besides, he’s now across from the street from SoulFood Books and Cafe, where his music teachers and their students perform in recitals.
Describing the new Pacific Music store, Weyand said, “We’ve got about the same amount of retail and teaching space, a little less storage space. There’s more walk-in traffic. We’re up to about 300 students a week.”
A dozen teachers offer lessons in guitar and other string instruments, drums and woodwind instruments.
“We’ve got a ‘who’s who’ of teachers, many of them Cornish grads. All are in working bands and this is all they do,” Weyand added.
We asked what brings young people in, with an itch to play a particular instrument.
“Recently it’s been (the video games) ‘Rock Band’ and ‘Guitar Hero,’” Weyand replied. “They play the games and then they say, ‘Wow, I’d like to do the real thing!’ About half our students are adults. Maybe their kids have left the nest and they’re fulfilling lifelong dreams to play. A lot are from Microsoft. We have students five years old to 83 years old, a retired surgeon.”
What stands out at Pacific Music, opposed to many music stores around Seattle and the Eastside, said Weyand, is the level of experience his staff possesses and their confidence in teaching not just beginners, but intermediate and advanced musicians, too.
He’s tickled to see some of the “kids” who took lessons at Pacific Music years ago, now returning as grown-ups with kids of their own.
Weyand’s also proud of his music memorabilia collection. “Albums are signed by the original artists. Some are fading,” he chuckled. “But the main focus is the lessons. That’s pretty much the foundation of this store.”
He praised local schools for their support of music education and said he’d like to give back to the community as the weather improves. He’s hoping to organize some outdoor music events, perhaps for the benefit of Hopelink.
For more information, call (425) 885-9703.