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This musical instrument repairman is scrambling to keep up with demand

Richard Cunningham Sep 19, 2022
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Avery McDaniel's shop in Beloit, Wisconsin, is running out of instruments to rent to schools. Michael Hickey/Getty Images

This musical instrument repairman is scrambling to keep up with demand

Richard Cunningham Sep 19, 2022
Avery McDaniel's shop in Beloit, Wisconsin, is running out of instruments to rent to schools. Michael Hickey/Getty Images
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For Avery McDaniel, the back-to-school season is the busiest time of year for his musical instrument repair and rental shop in Beloit, Wisconsin.

McDaniel Music Repair’s business renting and repairing instruments for school bands “literally pays the payroll and main bills.”

The last few years were rough for McDaniel. In 2019, he downsized his shop. And when the pandemic started, schools had no need for instruments or repairs. But while people stayed at home, they were dusting off their old instruments in the attic, and McDaniel and his team pivoted to fixing instruments like guitars and ukuleles for individuals. 

Now that classes are back in person, McDaniel’s shop is back to repairing instruments in the summer, getting them ready for the new school year. But this year, there are more involved repairs, and McDaniel has had to extend the turnaround time from a couple of days to about a month. And the rental season is the busiest ever. McDaniel is running out of instruments to rent — especially clarinets. Year over year, clarinet rentals are up 40%, McDaniel said.

“It’s one of those things that what we keep telling ourselves is ‘It’s a good problem to have,’” McDaniel said. “It doesn’t make it any less of a problem.”

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