A beloved Knoxville music shop is closing it’s doors

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) – For 40 years, people all across East Tennessee went to Lunsford’s Musical Instruments on Western Avenue for all their music needs and wants. Now, the beloved music shop will close it’s doors as the owner plans to retire.

Owner Sonja Lunsford Rogers’ always had a passion for teaching and music. For her, it made sense to combine her two loves and turn them into a career. That’s when she became the band director for Scott High School in Scott County.

“When a child shows interest in learning and instrument, reading music, and just being a part of a band, good things start to happen. I hope these students continue their appreciation of music for a lifetime,” said Rogers.

One love brought her to another considering that’s where she met her husband, Daniel Lunsford. Rogers and Lunsford got married in 1985. Lunsford started the music businesses out of his basement in 1981.

Lunsford passed away in 2001, but Rogers knew she needed to carry on their mission.

“Being the band director we came together brick by brick and box of reeds at a time we went from nothing,” said Rogers.

Rogers made the tough decision this year to retire and close the doors of the music shop she and her late husband started 40 years ago.

“I finally, around Christmas time maybe a little before, I said this is it, this is the year I’m retiring this summer, and I talked to all the employees and, of course, they knew it they’ve been great they’re just the best,” said Rogers.

At Lunsford’s music you can find all types of instruments, take lessons, get instrument repairs and rentals but Rogers says you’ll leave with new friendships.

“See anybody who comes through here is family and that’s how we kept this business going is the musical family,” said Rogers. “And the best part of it is when the kids come in for their first instrument and they’re hiding behind their parents and so we try to get them talking and figure out what they want.”

Rogers said her retirement gift to the people who have kept her going over the years is a massive clear out sale of her entire store. She said even the office furniture has got to go.

“We’re selling reeds more discounted, drum sticks, we’ve got base drum heads and symphony heads for $10 if you pick it out,” said Rogers.

Gaya Wolfenbarger, Rogers’ sister, said no one will be able to replace her or the store. She said she has done everything from cleaning toilets to book keeping. She is just as sad about the store closing because she’s been along for the entire ride; she said she would do anything for her sister.

“There will be a void and we’re sad about that but were hoping and praying someone will fill that void and love everybody just like we have and serve the community like we have,” said Wolfenbarger.

The store is still open and offering repairs until June 1, after that Rogers plans on selling the building. She said its a bittersweet moment.

“I come in here at 7:30 in the morning and work I walk around and go wow its been a good run we’ve been truly blessed,” said Rogers

However, if you are currently renting from Lunsford’s music, you are asked to either return or take the option to purchase the instrument you’re renting. You have until June 16th to return. Rogers said how much she appreciates the support from the community for the past four decades.

“It’s bitter sweet because I’ve gotten so many friends from this I mean I’ve seen these kids grow, there not kids anymore their adults, but you know they’re family and I have adults coming in now renting for their children and their first instrument came from here so, I mean were going second generation third generation,” Rogers said.

The store is still open for the time being and Rogers will continue to sell their inventory.

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