“I could just get lost in the place”: Remembering a Connecticut sheet music store
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From local mom and pop stores to big chains, the retail spaces we frequent can sometimes take on an outsized role in our lives. Many of those stores have closed their doors in recent years — the product of a changing retail landscape that’s only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
For Victoria Reeve, a piano teacher in New Haven, Connecticut, that place was Foundry Music, an old-fashioned sheet music shop that first opened its doors in 1975. Until last year, it was one of the last-standing stores of its kind.
“It was packed with sheet music for every instrument,” Reeve said. “You could just spend hours browsing through the stuff if you were a real classical music geek. I could just get lost in the place.”
Reeve, who teaches piano at the Neighborhood Music School located next door to Foundry Music, said the shop was a source of exploration for her students.
“When you walk into that shop, it’s actually a visual to them that there’s so much music being written — and that shop doesn’t even have the half of it. But it gives them the sense of intrigue of the endless possibilities on the instrument that they’re learning,” she said.
In November, Foundry Music, like so many businesses struggling to cover costs amid pandemic disruptions, closed its storefront for good. Owner Marcia Killian is still taking online orders, and hopes to reopen a storefront some day.
“For a very long time they just kept going, doing curbside orders, and then we got the really sad news that they were closing. They just couldn’t manage any longer. And so it’s gone,” Reeve said.
“It’s something which my kids and younger generations just won’t know — which is just so sad and heartbreaking, really.”
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