After 66 years, the Bringe Music Center closes its doors in Saint Petersburg
After 66 years, the Bringe Music Center is closing its doors in Saint Petersburg. A clearance sale of instruments, accessories, fixtures and more is running through June 25, the last day of the store.
The owners, Lynn Weigand and his partner Joan Clinger, have decided to retire. They bought the company from Bill Findeison in 2000. Weigand has worked there since 1981.
“I just turned 65 and I’m tired,” Weigand said. “We decided it was a good time to shut down and move on and smell the roses a bit before we were too old to do that.”
She said the decision was bittersweet because so many people consider Bringe Music an icon in the community.
The building at 2129 First Ave. N dates back to 1956 when it was Preston Music Co. In 1978 Findeison, a former band manager at Lakewood High School, purchased Bringe Music from Walter Bringe. This place was on Central Avenue near 40th Street. Two years later, needing more space, Findeison purchased the Preston Music Building as this place started to close. He ran Bringe Music for 23 years before selling it to Weigand, who was its managing director, and Clinger.
From the beginning, one of the main facets of the center was to serve Tampa Bay schools as a school music dealer, selling them instruments and accessories and performing repairs. They also rented instruments to students who wanted to join the school orchestra and who wanted to try out instruments before buying them. Thousands of instruments have been rented out to students over the years.
In addition to being a complete music store selling a wide variety of instruments and accessories, the center had a music school where students took lessons.
News of the closure sent a wave of emotion through the community.
“We’ve helped thousands and thousands of students start a group. Some of those students went on to become band directors,” Weigand said. “So we hear from all over the universe, you know, it’s like, ‘oh, my granddaughter played that.’ “Music school was where my kids went.” You know, ‘I bought you my first flute and my first oboe.’ It’s been wonderful, you know, lots of feedback on Facebook.
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The start of online shopping was a blow to the business, Weigand said, but then people started to accept the idea of paying more for the services they offer.
The owners considered finding someone to carry on the business, but realized it wasn’t their best option. But part of the tradition will live on thanks to repair shop manager Clint Tate, who opens his own repair shop in Safety Harbor. Findeison is in the process of selling the building, which he says will be demolished.
Weigand said the biggest loss schools will suffer with the closure of the center is instrument rentals, but they have sold instruments to band managers who will provide their use to students who cannot find them.
“It has been our honor to serve the people of St. Pete and beyond,” she said. “We have always taken our responsibility to the community seriously and believe in the intrinsic value of music and for children who learn music and anyone who plays music. You know, society is much better off when people are busy playing instruments instead of looking for trouble. So we will miss it, but we are honored to be part of the community for so long.
The Bringe Music Center will be open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on June 25. A farewell meeting will be held at 4 p.m. on June 17. Entry is a bottle of wine or champagne.