Heard on the Street: Downtown music shop headed to northwest Rochester

February 10, 2019

A sign that has hung on North Broadway for 53 years is moving to northwest Rochester this spring, clearing the way for developers to snap up a high-profile building.

Welhaven Music Co. plans to move from its longtime downtown home at 15 N. Broadway Ave. to 3552 West River Parkway NW this spring, according to John Welhaven, an owner of the business.

The new location, now occupied by Plaza Liquor, is about double the size of Welhaven’s current downtown spot. Plus, Welhaven’s customer parking will blossom from just two spots to 15.

This move follows Welhaven’s recent merger withMusic Mart, another Minnesota-based, family-owned music center.

Music Mart took over the retail shop and the business of leasing instruments for school bands. Brothers John and Tom Welhaven continue to operate the instrument repair shop as an independent, related operation.

Eric Amundrud, known as the Drum Doctor, manages the shop.

The owner of Music Mart purchased the West River Parkway space in late 2018. Plaza Liquor is expected to pack up at the end of February with Welhaven/Music Mart moving into the 5,000-square-foot spot in April.

This move marks the end of era. The music instrument shop and repair business has operated in downtown Rochester in various locations since Earl Welhaven started it in 1954.

John Welhaven, Earl’s son, says he’ll miss many things about being downtown. However, accessible parking without the worry of being ticketed (he paid off three parking tickets last week) and no swarming, murders of crows will be big improvements.

“There isn’t a day that goes by that a customer doesn’t come in to complain about parking,” he said.

John and Jim Welhaven still own the 2,596-square-foot building tucked between a Center Street city parking ramp and a mosque. The store has been listed for sale for two years. While some developers have shown interest, no deals have closed.

The Welhavens, who are represented by Rochester Realtor Bucky Beeman, hope vacating the 104-year-old shop will make it more attractive to buyers interested in being part of the Destination Medical Center boom in downtown.

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