The Schwaller family always had a passion for music, and felt a musical piece was missing in Independence.
“A lot of others and I miss the old Turner Music store,” said Bert Schwaller. “And I felt there is still a market for a music shop.”
The longtime guitar player has been teaching the instrument for decades and is currently active in a popular cover band, “My Pirate Girlfriend” that plays tunes ranging from the 1950s through the '90s. Along with being involved in the Independence booster club and previously showing children the joy of music by donating music instruments to schools, he was compelled to serve an unfulfilled niche in his community.
“I wanted to open up a store that you don’t see in the area as much,” Schwaller said. “Plus I want to offer something that is different than the rest.”
With only a couple of music stores in Eastern Jackson County, Schwaller decided it was finally time to open a shop of his own: Music Gear.
It's located on the Independence Square on Lexington Avenue, near Turner Music's former home. Music Gear is “a new music store bringing you unbeatable deals on near new, used, and vintage instruments and accessories,” according to the store’s motto.
As you walk into Music Gear, you are greeted by rows of guitars arranged on glossy wooden shelves and framed memorbilia from famous musicians that give the impression you are walking into the den of an avid music collector rather than your everyday retailer.
“We offer an eclectic selection of instruments and equipment that range from bongos to P.A. systems,” Schwaller said. “Also we specialize in providing vintage pieces.”
But not only does Music Gear buy, sell and trade instruments, it also offers music-related services.
“We currently have three, music-degreed instructors who will teach guitar, bass, cello, violin and piano lessons,” he said. Music players of all ages will have the opportunity to hone their instrument at the location.
Another service the family owned and operated Music Gear provide in the near future is instrument repair. Customers will be able to take in their broken guitars, amplifiers and even brass instruments to be fixed. “Nobody offers horn repair in the area,” Schwaller said. The repair service will be available once Music Gear’s wholesale and distribution center opens in early December. “It will be located two blocks east from the (Independence) Square,” he said.
Music Gear will celebrate its grand opening Saturday starting at 11 a.m. To exhibit his community spirit, Schwaller ssaid a winter clothing collection drive will be held during the opening. “We will accept new and gently used coats, hats and gloves for Tabitha’s Closet in time for the holidays.” Tabitha’s Closet is an outreach program serving Independence youth.
And if you make a monetary donation for Tabitha’s Closet, “you be eligible to receive a special ‘drawer’ prize.” Several winners will have the opportunity to open one of several drawers near the front of the store to receive prizes.
“Music Gear will be big on giving back to the community,” Schwaller said. "We also have sales position openings."
Music Gear is open from Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.