By Stacy Nadelman
Pilot staff writer
"My love in life is music," Tracy Sanchez, the new Banana Belt Music Store owner said.
Sanchez purchased the store from Jonathan Lee on Tuesday.
And with a little help from his friends, J. Pizzi and Sarah VanCamp, Sanchez plans to make the music store a great success.
First time business owner, Sanchez, a Brookings resident since 1987, snatched up the chance to buy his dream when former owner of Banana belt Music, Lee, decided to sell.
Lee has owned the business since 2006. The store is the only music store in the area in any two hour direction.
Sanchez's plans to make the business more than just a music store though. He enlisted help from friend VanCamp to write up grants to get a children's music workshop started for youth in the area.
"We're trying to build something up here," Sanchez said.
And he hired Pizzi for his manager to be in charge of it all.
"He's the music meister," said Sanchez.
Once the music workshop grants go through, Sanchez plans to administer every aspect of the instrumental music program including student recruitment and enrollment, instrument sales and rentals, music selection and distribution, and instruction. He also wants to eventually hold recital and concert performances.
Sanchez said he's always been interested in providing something for the youth in this area besides just a skate park.
He helped open a teen center in Brookings in the mid 90s and now, what better way to to keep teens occupied than with music.
"Bottom line, it's going to be a cool music store," Pizzi said. "They're (the youth) going to be comfortable working there."
Pizzi, a local musician, just moved back into the area from Boston Mass. He has worked for the Los Angeles Times as a sales representative. He also worked for Daddy's Junky Music, a 21- music store chain in Boston, for two years. There, Pizzi was named best rookie salesman of the year his first year.
Sanchez and Pizzi said they will keep the same store hours, which are Tuesday through Saturday noon until 6 p.m., and Lee will still be around to help with instrument repairs.
Lee said he will still run his local custom guitar company and recording studio. He also said now he no longer owns the music store, he will take a couple months off to do some extensive traveling through Central and South America.
New owner Sanchez plans to expand the inventory, sell T-shirts, and promises to promote local musicians by allowing them to sell their compact discs in the store. He also has plans to stock the store with rare albums.
Sanchez also has John Chadwick, Gil Kirk and Billie Ruth on board to give music instructions in piano, vocals and guitars.
Pizzi will also offer guitar lessons.
For sales, repairs, lessons and recording call the Banana Belt Music store at (541) 469-5363.