Keeney Bros. Music Center is closing after 30 years of service in downtown Moscow, owner Dale Keeney said.
Keeney, 67, said the building, located on the corner of Third and Washington streets, is for sale and he is liquidating the store’s inventory.
“We have been the primary music store (in Moscow) for 30 years,” Keeney said. “There have been others but nothing like what we provided, especially with the repairs.”
He said COVID-19 and Amazon are the reasons for closing. His sales are 30 percent off what they were one and a half years ago.
“Because of COVID, everybody started buying on Amazon,” Keeney said. “They didn’t want to go out.”
He said school bands and rock bands are not performing because of the pandemic, so those markets are gone.
“If you’re not out giggin’, you don’t need to buy strings all the time,” he said. “You don’t need to buy cables all the time.”
Keeney compared his feelings about closing the business to musician George Harrison’s album, “All Things Must Pass.”
“That’s life ... I’m not sad, I’m not glad, it just is,” Keeney said.
Vern Sielert, professor of trumpet and director of jazz studies at the University of Idaho, said he and his wife, Vanessa Sielert, director of the Lionel Hampton School of Music at the UI, used Keeney Bros. over the years for instrument repairs and to purchase various musical items.
He said he much preferred getting his instrument repaired at Keeney Bros. than sending it somewhere else for repair. He encouraged his students to go there, too, and many did.
“It’s going to leave a real void,” Vern Sielert said.
He said having a local music store is “super important” for the musical community.
“I’m just really sorry to see them go,” he said.
Keeney said Keeney Bros. Music Center, named after him and his two brothers, has been in business since he moved to Moscow 43 years ago.
He opened a band instrument repair shop in his attached garage and then moved to another house, which he still lives in, and operated out of that basement and garage for 12 years. The business then moved into the current building.
Keeney said he came to Moscow after a music store called the Music Room, which was located on the corner of Sixth and Main streets where Maialina Pizzeria Napoletana is, brought instruments for Keeney to repair at a Spokane music shop Keeney worked at.
Keeney accepted a part-time job at the Music Room while simultaneously starting Keeney Bros.
Keeney said he and his wife were also having a family and were “shopping for a small town that didn’t suck” in the late 1970s.
“Everything’s here,” said Keeney, noting things like the two Palouse universities.
Besides selling and repairing instruments, Keeney said he played drums professionally for 49 years, including 36 years in a band called the Fabulous Kingpins. He said the band played in cities like Spokane, Seattle and Boise. The Kingpins were a recent staple at the Pullman 4th of July celebration.
Keeney said he still has his first drum set from 1967, which looks like new.
“As a drummer … you get to hit things and make people dance,” Keeney said. “Now what other profession do you get to make people dance and smile and have a ball? Music is it.”