September 3, 2010

Waterville fixture reopens after closing for good

Al Corey Music Center back in business in familiar space

By Amy Calder acalder@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

WATERVILLE -- It ain't over 'til the lady sings the blues.

click image to enlarge

Store manager Richard Dort looks over inventory at the reopened Al Corey Music Center in downtown Waterville on Thursday.

Staff photo by David Leaming

Apparently, that is the case with Al Corey Music Center, which is open -- again -- after announcing in July that it was closed for good.

The store had been a mainstay on Main Street downtown for decades.

"We are open," store manager Richard Dort said Thursday.

In July, owner Thomas Burns posted a notice on the center's 99 Main St. door, saying he had tried everything to keep the business running, but the store was closed permanently.

The store remained vacant and quiet for weeks. On Thursday, however, a large Al Corey Music Center sign was perched on the sidewalk and jazz flowed outside, just like it used to be before it closed.

"Tom contacted a local lawyer he uses and went to talk to the bank, and the bank decided to let us keep it," Dort said of the building and business. "So, we were closed for about a month while we got the carpeting in and opened last week for a few days. We opened on Thursday, and then we were closed because Tom's mom was in the hospital. She's the bookkeeper."

The music center has new carpeting, as well as new and used instruments organized by category. Percussion instruments are in one area, brass in another, and woodwinds in their own area.

The store has electric and acoustic guitars, guitar cases, guitar picks, sound equipment, sheet music and music books.

"We've changed things around, and it'd be nice to see what the general consensus is about what we've done," Dort said. "I want people to know we're open. It's kind of a new store. It is Al Corey's, but it's all new staff and we've rearranged it and, in a way, it's a brand new store and it's going to have its teething issues."

Ginny Bolduc, who with her husband, Steve, owns Jorgensen's Cafe next door to Al Corey, is excited it is open again.

"I'm thrilled," she said. "That's a landmark here on Main Street. It was so sad to see it close -- we thought it was closed."

Bolduc said many people who patronized the store also visited her business. Parents of children who took guitar lessons, for instance, would wait at the cafe and have a cup of coffee.

"It does help our business as well," she said. "Even if it didn't, we don't want to see any storefront close. To have Al Corey's back is great. We're thrilled."

The business was named after Al Corey, a music legend and fixture on the area music scene for more than 50 years before he died in 2003 at 86. Corey, who owned the store, played the saxophone and led Al Corey's Big Band, which played classic swing tunes.

Amy Calder -- 861-9247

acalder@centralmaine.com

 

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