Bernunzio Uptown Music, an East End staple, to open again 

click to enlarge Musicians performing at Bernunzio Uptown Music before the pandemic.

FILE PHOTO

Musicians performing at Bernunzio Uptown Music before the pandemic.

Bernunzio Uptown Music, a staple of the East End and a popular spot for jam sessions, will open its East Avenue storefront to walk-in customers again after shutting its doors nearly three years ago in response to the pandemic.

John Bernunzio, the owner of the musical instrument shop, wrote on the business’s website and Facebook page that the store will open with limited hours, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays beginning this week.

The business had been operating online with store hours by appointment only.

Reopening its doors was a matter of debate among the staff, Bernunzio wrote, especially considering that the business derives most of its revenue from online sales.

click to enlarge John Bernunzio with some of his wares. - PHOTO PROVIDED
  • PHOTO PROVIDED
  • John Bernunzio with some of his wares.
“Opening the doors is a significant change for us and it is not necessarily the most cost effective nor profitable way to run our business,” Bernunzio wrote. “However, 17 years ago, as we emerged from the mansion basement, we decided to become an important part of the revival of downtown Rochester and a part of Rochester’s great musical scene.”

Bernunzio’s started in 1975 as a mail-order vintage musical instrument called Bernunzio’s Vintage Instruments, which Bernunzio ran out of his home. He opened Bernunzio Uptown Music on East Avenue and Swan Street in 2006.

Since then, the shop had been a gathering place for musicians and music lovers, specifically weekly jams in the shop’s so-called “back room," until the pandemic hit in March 2020 and the shop closed.

RELATED: Bernunzio Uptown Music is still strumming

In announcing the reopening, Bernunzio, 76, wrote that the store has begun scheduling jams, with plans for bluegrass jams and Irish sessions.

The news was met with applause by fans of the shop.

“Old time jams! Fabulous!” wrote Margaret Mathews, a follower of the store’s Facebook page. “Making music is good for body, mind and soul!”

David Andreatta is CITY's editor. He can be reached at [email protected].
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