Maytan Music Closing After 54 Years

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RENO, NV - Step into Maytan Music Center at 777 South Center Street any day in the last half century or more and you might hear soulful sounds of an oboe coming from a student taking lessons in an upstairs room, a technician trying out a repaired violin, someone tickling the keys of a baby grand.

This was where or how many of us first began making music.

Maytan Music has been a fixture on this end of Center Street, either in its present location or the original building next door for 54 years, but it has been much more than that.

It's played a role in the lives of generations of northern Nevadans, this reporter among them.

My old cornet bought used from Maytan got me into the Winnemucca Grammar School band. My old 6-string-guitar from their Fallon store was the best Christmas present I ever got and my 12-string, a more recent purchase, is also from Maytan.

I never got very good on any of these instruments, but I did have fun.

You see, most of us enjoy listening to music. Making it is something else.

"It's like when you're playing in sports," says Marianne Maytan, who's been running the store with her mother Iris since her father Steve died years ago.

"If you're in the stands and you're cheering that's one sort of high. But if you're out there kicking goals, that's a great place to be."

It was that pursuit that brought many of us to this store and kept it open for so long.

If you were in a northern Nevada school band anytime in the last half century, it's fairly certain this is where you got your instrument.

The Maytans have supported music in our area in a number of other ways, including youth scholarships to the Tahoe Music Camp.

Some of their former students continue playing in a store-sponsored band which plays often in local nursing homes.

But times change and so has the business world. It's a familiar story. The internet, chains and big box stores leave little room for family operations.

Today's shopper, Marianne says, wants volume.

"In this day and age it's real hard for Mom and Pop stores like us to have that much merchandise on the wall. It's a huge investment sitting on the wall waiting for the right person to come in. We just can't afford to do that anymore."

Those chain stores can't fix the valves on your trumpet or put a new bridge on your bass viol or guitar either. And the sales person you're talking to won't be able to guide you as well on your purchase.

"He's not in it for making your life enriched," says Marianne Maytan.. "He's in it for the sale and making his commission. That's just the state of retail these days."

The store will remain open for perhaps another month as they work through their inventory.

Dodd Violin Shop, an independent part of the store, will continue at another, still-to-be-determined location.

Marianne Maytan hopes to continue to teach students and make music.

"I'll miss hearing all the students upstairs. I'm going to miss the little tiny kids coming in. And then the older people coming in wanting to learn to play the clarinet and it's been their dream all their life. I'm going to miss that."