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Swan song for Grandma’s Music

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Dustin Casteel and Will Phillips look at a keyboard in the nearly empty showroom of Grandma\’s Music & Sound. The store at 9310 Coors Boulevard NW is closing its doors after 34 years in business. (Greg Sorber/Albuquerque Journal)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Today will be the final day of Grandma’s Music, according to owner Micky Patten.

This past weekend he changed his “Moving Sale” signs to “Closing Sale” signs as plans to sell the business fell through.

“We canceled our vendors three weeks ago because we were going to sell, but then that fell through and we decided it was the right time to close,” Patten said.

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The Albuquerque music and sound equipment retailer, which occupies a 15,000-square-foot building on Coors near Paseo del Norte, has been part of the local landscape for 34 years, and many are sad to see it go.

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randma\’s Music & Sound is closing its doors after 34 years in business. (Greg Sorber/Albuquerque Journal)

“I’m in shock. It’s very sad,” said Chris Saiers, a  longtime Grandma’s customer. “I’ve been coming here for 25 years. I like the local shop. They seem to care about you and give you good service and a good price.”

Saiers, who works in the music industry, said he doesn’t know where to go now for his equipment needs.

Grandma’s has been trying to downsize for three years, said Patten. Online retail has put an enormous strain on the music store, and Patten, along with manager Ryan Clement, have been trying to find ways to adapt to the changing retail environment.

“We wanted a smaller building three years ago,” Patten said. “But we couldn’t find a buyer for this building. Now we have a buyer, so that sort of finalized (the decision to close).”

But closing down Grandma’s was not the original plan.  The first idea was to sell the business to Clement, who has worked for Patten for 31 years. But the plan didn’t work out. “We kept telling him, ‘You haven’t signed a lease yet. It’s not too late to turn back,'” Patten said. “And he decided, ‘You’re right. I’m not going to do it.’ And we are relieved, frankly, because we wouldn’t want to watch him die on the vine.”

Clement said he was excited about the purchase and the decision to not go through with it hurt, but he feels it was the right call. “The challenges that came up to try to make that happen just started to escalate.  It seemed like the closer I was getting, the further away I was getting.”

Clement and Patten both say the closing comes with mixed emotions. They are sad to see the store close and lose the relationships they have cultivated over decades, but they are both excited for the future.  Patten said he is just going to “hang out” for now.  Clement said, “I’m going to sleep for three weeks solid and then wake up unemployed for the first time (since I was 11 years old).”

Patten said there is a possibility of reopening at a different location in the future but said he doesn’t have plans to do that yet.

The store was busy on Monday as customers came to buy the last of the products and share their stories with Clement and each other.

“You know, long after the doors close, those friendships and memories will remain,” Clement said.


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