The sales papers are signed. On her second to last day at work, Barb Shane's office is mostly empty save for a computer, a corkboard of family photos, and a desk with a stack of letters she's set to mail to business associates announcing the changing of the guard that is happening at , effective well, tomorrow.
On Saturday, May 5, David and Cathy Bozich will be the new owners of the local music business that has been a mainstay presence on Cole Street since 1985.
Shane introduces the couple in her retirement announcement as supporters of local music education with two children in music programs at their respective schools in Enumclaw. David is a musician who was trained in string bass and recently retired from a career at Microsoft, Shane said. Running Enumclaw Music will be his second career, and wife Cathy will also be involved as a sales representative, Shane said.
"I am delighted to have new owners who will carry on the reputation of Enumclaw Music," she wrote.
What changes might existing students and business associates see due to the changeover? Not much -- at least not immediately. "David and Cathy will not be making any changes to the business and will honor all commitments for studio space, rental contract, consignments and hours," Shane assured.
However, she's making an effort to stay out of discussions about where the business might go in the future and letting the couple proceed without her interference. A friend recently emailed her to congratulate her on her retirement, she said, and he asked how she felt about someone taking over her baby.
"I don't know," she said, not having had time to process what the change means. "I know things will be done differently, but I really don't know. I want them to do well and I will help them."
The Making of a Music Store
Shane made the decision in 1985 to start Enumclaw Music after the music store that used to reside where Collectibles on Cole is now located closed. She had been teaching piano at home and decided she was actually tired -- and too outgoing -- to be staying home all the time.
With the help of a friend, she opened at the business' first location at 1036 Cole Street. The current location at 1515 Cole Street is actually Enumclaw Music's third home and circumstances in 2000 allowed Shane to also purchase the building.
Since 1985, at least three music stores have come and gone in Enumclaw, Shane said. They tended to specialize in one particular type of product be it records, instruments or sometime in between. Shane attributes the longevity of Enumclaw Music to being a true mom and pop store that provided an array of products and services including instruments, musical accessories, sheet music, lessons, rentals, consignment, trades and repairs.
The community is too small to be too specialized in one set of products or services, she said.
She's the first to admit she is not a savvy business person but learned a lot about running a businesss on-the-job. Her other attribute? "I'm a very organized person."
This has helped her weather the growing competition that independent music stores face from larger chain stores and the Internet. For example, customers can find a good line of entry-level guitars at Enumclaw Music. While it's not economically sound for her to carry the more sophisticated instruments, she'll make referrals and direct customers to where they'll want to go and actually handle and play the guitar to know if it's a good fit.
"What we can provide is good service," she said. "We can chat with the customers and that personalized service is very important to me."
So is having a roster of talented and committed teachers who continue to teach out of the store location. Kathye Long, in fact, has taught at the store the entire 27 years that Enumclaw Music has existed, she said.
Influencing Multiple Generations
On this Thursday morning, Shane was helping a customer trade up two new violins for her daughters. She also recently helped a man in his 30s with a clarinet and he told her he remembered her from his childhood.
"That's what I love seeing," she said. "It's fun to watch kids grow up with music and continue with music and then bring their kids in."
If she's going to miss anything about being a business owner, that is it -- the people. "But I'm not going to miss the responsibility," she said. "I can't hardly imagine -- I really can't -- what retirement will be like."
Shane said she wants to travel (her children now live in Montana and South Carolina), work in her yard, and spend more time with people she hasn't been able to in the past.
No Quiet Retirement
Having moved to Enumclaw 50 years ago from southern California, Shane has over the years served on the city of Enumclaw's Arts Commission and played accompaniment for various school music programs on the Plateau. She continues to serve on the board of directors of the Plateau Community Orchestra and plans to continue providing accompaniment for local musicians young and old.
Shane will continue to teach her six piano students and polish her own piano shops as well. She's also recently taken up the violin and plans to host a double string quartet at her home this summer.
And at least through June, Shane can be found at the June 22 Enumclaw Music recital organized by the studio's six music teachers as well as at a three-day band camp that Enumclaw Music sponsors at Thunder Mountain Middle School the week after school is out for summer.
Clearly, Shane plans to stay busy; she's looking forward to the change from business owner to dedicated music aficianado where she can continue to support local musicians but without the responsibility of also running a store.
"It's been nice," she said. "I love this town. I love the music business. We have the best customers because they're all into music. We have great teachers. It's [retirement is] gonna be strange."
See Barb Shane on the piano tonight as part of the , performing free live music at Enumclaw Music from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. No cover charge and free punch and cookies at the break.