When shoppers open the doors to Currier’s Music World, they are greeted with a hominess that is unmistakable. Upon entrance, visitors find themselves surrounded by a variety of instruments. Woodwind instruments to the left and electric guitars to your right. Elvis, the 11-year-old and pleasantly plump black cat greets all shoppers from the checkout counter.
Cathy Currier and long time staff member Mary Lou Roberts chat with customers as they come in and out, asking about their families and welfare.
But underneath the air of familiarity, change is brewing. Currier said that the store will soon be moved to a different location.
Currier’s Music World has been sitting in the same spot, the corner of West Main Street and South 2nd Street, in Richmond for around 39 years. However, the new landlord of the building is hoping to put in seven apartments above Currier’s, making the entire building unusable for the duration of the construction.
“It’s business.” Currier said. “He’s gotta do what he’s gotta do.”
To make up for the loss of the building the landlord has given Currier’s a new place in town, close to Richmond Underground along where University Road and South 2nd Street meet.
Currier said that a change of scenery could be nice and a cleaning of the store could help get rid of some unnecessary junk. But she also acknowledged that the move would be a lot of work.
Roberts, who has worked for Currier’s for around seven years, said she is excited about the move and thinks that it will be a different and interesting experience.
During a break in customer activity, Currier boiled a pot of hot water and made everyone some tea, moving to a blue leather couch to reminisce about old times.
Currier was 11 when her father first opened Currier’s. Once the store was up and running Currier said that she was there almost every day, learning as much as she could. Soon she started working as a clerk. Working at Currier’s is the only job she has ever had. But she didn’t want to stop there.
Attending Western Iowa Tech after her high school graduation, Currier majored in band instrument repairs. She later became the first intern at Taylor Guitars, the number one manufacturer of acoustic guitars in the United States.
Returning to Currier’s after her internship, she took over the store from her parents. Currier said that it is hard work, but she loves the customers too much to pick up and leave.
“The community of Richmond has been kind to us, even through our move.” Currier said. “They’re my favorite part of the job.”
Roberts agreed wholeheartedly with Currier’s love for the customer. Most of all Roberts loves to see kids getting excited about playing music.
Currently, the hottest item for sale in her store are ukuleles, said Currier. But of course, the main attraction is the guitars, more acoustic than electric. The store also sells drum sets, violins, and band instruments such as clarinets and trombones. Years ago the hottest instrument was the piano, evidence of the changing industry.
Currier’s also serves as an instrument repair shop. Lindy Allen, a student at Eastern, is proof of Currier’s skills. Allen has played guitar as a hobby for around three years and decided that she wanted to learn how to put together a guitar.
“I bought a cheap guitar and tore it apart.” Allen said. “I planned to put it back together, but I just didn’t know enough to do so.”
Allen took a trip to Currier’s and said they were able to help her immensely.
“She was able to fix my guitar and make it play better than it had before I took it apart.” Allen Said. “She also walked me through some of the stuff that she did, so I feel more educated in the area than I was before.”
Currier’s offers lessons for customers who are just starting off their music career. The store has four instructors whose expertise ranges from singing and playing the piano to acoustic and electric guitar to percussion and the violin.
Currier said that 2017 marks the 50th year anniversary of the store. They plan to have a celebration on September 2nd, the opening day at their new location. They are hoping that the event will be even bigger than the 40th anniversary, which boasted a sale of 40% off of everything and entertained around 250 guests.
Currier said that she is excited about the future for the store.
“We might be moving sites, but I have faith that the community will support us and we will come back stronger than ever.” Currier said.