Rochester band Junkyardfieldtrip plays two songs during D&C’s Coffee Break Concert with Jeff Spevak.
Jeff Spevak, Virginia Butler, Olivia Lopez
Rock and roll was in its infancy when Eldon Stutzman expanded his hobby into what became the family business.
Stutzman worked in insurance but was into guitars and other stringed instruments. He collected them, played them and repaired them. By 1952, he started offering service from his home in Spencerport on a by-appointment basis.
That led to what now is Stutzman Guitar Center, on West Ridge Road in Greece. Eldon’s son, Dave, runs the business now with other family members.
“In the early days, so few people specialized in this kind of thing,” Dave Stutzman said. His dad fell in love with the banjo while attending Syracuse University and expanded into guitar and violin.
“He said, ‘I don’t have a lot of money so I better learn to fix these,’ ” Dave Stutzman said. “He loved doing it…After dinner, Dad would go into the basement and work in his workshop. When I was nine, I was doing things that I couldn’t mess up, the grunt-work.”
Business got so good that Eldon opened his first shop on Jay Street in Rochester in 1964. That was the year that “Beatlemania” swept the world. Kids absorbed everything Beatles-related — and that included guitars.
“At first, acoustic guitars made up most of our sales,” Dave Stutzman said. “Then, with the Beatles, we sold more electric guitars. And there was the folk boom at the time, so we have two guns going then.”
Dave took over in 1977, a year after his father died. Dave’s wife, Margaret, joined the same year and his brother, Richard, began as an instrument repairman eight years later. Dave…