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Scott Quick both of R ochester. —STAFF REPORTS SALUTING OUR SERVICE MEMBERS OurTowns When Dave Stutzman w as growing up, it wasn’t u ncommon for him to be a wakened at 5:30 in the m orning to the not-so- soothing sounds of boisterous banjo picking. The musical wake-up calls came courtesy of Dave’s father, Eldon Stutzman, whose vintage instrument workshop was located in the basement directly below the young boy’s bedroom. Eldon Stutzman had developed a love for old instruments while play- i ng banjo as a college student in the 1930s. He later began collecting banjos, mandolins and guitars and started fixing them in the early 1950s due to a lack of qualified repair people in the area. By the following dec- a de, Stutzman’s collection comprised over 1,000 ins truments that had begun to crowd every room of the family’s Spencerport home. His wife suggested, “ If you’re going to keep up with this hobby, how about we get them out of our dining room?” So in 1964, Eldon Stutz- m an established a proper s torefront at 760 Jay St. in the former location of the Jay Street Library. As Eldon was still working full- time at an insurance comp any, the store, which he c alled Stutzman’s Guitar Center, was open only on Saturdays. Stutzman showcased newer and reasonably p riced instruments at the s tore, but continued to welcome musicians and dealers for evening appointments in his basement workshop, where he k ept a wide selection of high-quality vintage instruments. Renowned performers Ry Cooder and Mike Seeg er were among the countless customers who c ame from around the country to plumb the depths of the Stutzman home in search of musical t reasures. Stutzman’s son Dave recalled one customer coming to the house at 12:30 a.m. looking for a M artin guitar: “He had an 8 p.m. appointment, but had car trouble. He never called to say he would be late, he just showed up. Dad showed him guitars w hile in his bathrobe.” D ave learned many tricks of the trade while listening in on such visits from the cellar stairs. He began working for his fat her, shining banjo hooks a nd brackets when he was just 9 years old. By the time he was 12, he was a paid employee, selling instruments at the Jay S treet store. Dave grew to share his father’s love for vintage i nstruments and when his d ad passed away unexpectedly in 1976, he took over the family “hobby.” Desiring a workplace that could double as a resi- d ence, Stutzman relo- c ated the store in 1977 to a 19th-century farmhouse at 4405 W. Ridge Road in Greece. By this time, Stutzman h ad enlisted his wife, Marg aret, as a bookkeeper. His older brother Richard later joined the business as head luthier. The new store, much l ike Dave’s childhood home, was soon overflowing with instruments. Dave and Margaret moved out, and in 1989, they remodeled the build- i ng to include a workshop, teaching studios and a larger showroom. S imultaneously a retail store, a repair shop and a music school, the three- i n-one institution welcomed the third generation of the Stutzman family to the fore in 2005. D ave and Margaret’s daughter, Megan, who does repairs and runs the s tore website, recently asked her father if he’d continue the family business if he won the lottery. Stutzman pondered the proposition and responded, “I would build my d ream store…I probably w ould be open shorter hours … but I’d still do it.” Morry is a Rochester- a rea freelance writer. ROCRoots Family Business Stutzman’s fulfills musical passions ANNETTE LEIN/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/STAFF FILE PHOTO 2009 Richard Stutzman, a luthier at Stutzman’s Guitar Center, wet-sands a repaired crack in a turn-of-the-century Martin parlor guitar. PHOTO PROVIDED BY DAVE STUTZMAN Dave Stutzman holds two instruments from the family’s c ollection in this circa 1964 photo. PHOTO PROVIDED BY DAVE STUTZMAN Richard Stutzman plays with his father, Eldon Stutzman, in a circa 1950 photo. Vintage instruments sold, repaired at shop EMILY MORRY Go deeper on digital Join the conversation about o ur history and our heritage at RocRoots.com , where you’ll find stories, videos, p hoto collections and more. Follow us at Twitter.com/RocRootsand l ike us at Facebook.com/RocRoots. ROCRoots Exploring our past. Inspiring our present.