Barry’s Music more than just instruments

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RADFORD — Main Street Radford named Barry’s Music the Business of the Month for March. Wanda Pearce, President of Main Street Radford, said Barry’s Music was chosen among several nominees by its Board of Directors for its prowess, prominence and prompt customer service. Located at 1083 East Main Street, Barry’s Music is just shy of being in operation 21 years.

Barry Roberts, owner of Barry's Music, stands amid some of the used stage lighting, sound, and drums available on the second floor of Barry's Music. Customers travel from several states to shop Barry's selection of new and used equipment. Photo by Charlie Whitescarver.

One of the criteria for selection as Business of the Month is outstanding customer service. And Barry Roberts, owner of Barry’s Music, delivers. Roberts greets customers, jokes with strangers and shares his knowledge, and customers linger in his store to try out instruments and browse the many racks of hard-copy albums.

When informed of his award Robert’s response was, “Not sure why I got it, they must figure it’s about time.”

At first glance, Barry’s Music appears to be solely a guitar store. Rows of electric and acoustic guitars line the walls and hang from racks down the middle of the store. A closer look and you’ll find mandolins, ukeleles, fiddles, and drums. A few more steps into the store and you discover vinyl, as in vinyl records – more and more difficult to find as the music industry gives way to the digital age.

“We buy and sell vinyl records and we have over a thousand in the store. Kids are digging it and they like the classic rock sound,” said Roberts. “We may be the only place selling vinyl records around here.”

Guitar instructor Kris Hale gives a lesson to second year student Carter Shelor at Barry's Music. Photo by Charlie Whitescarver.

The second floor of Barry’s Music is the showroom for used equipment. Stage lighting gear, public address systems, sound mixing boards, drum sets, and guitars pack the floor. The walls are decorated with concert posters. Barry’s buys and sells used music and sound equipment and sells on consignment.

“I have people drive here from other states,” said Roberts. The store caters to all types of musicians but according to Roberts, churches are his bread and butter. Gospel and contemporary Christian music are a big part of his business but rock, country, and bluegrass musicians and fans also frequent the store.

Roberts is a musician himself and plays guitar and drums. His assistant manager, Bill Smith, also known as “Dollar Bill,” is a well known blues and rockabilly musician in the area. They frequently perform with drummer David Shelton as Client 9.

Music lessons are offered and several instructors are available for guitar, ukelele and bass guitar. Recently, Peter Golladay, began accepting students at Barry’s Music. Golladay has a Master’s in music from the Peabody Conservatory of Music. He has 25 years of teaching experience at the college level and has performed extensively in the mid-Atlantic region.

Roberts is also adept at tuning and fixing guitars. Hang out for an hour at Barry’s and you will most likely meet someone entering the store with a guitar problem. And a short while later you will see them leave with their problems solved, a smile on their faces and a tune in their heads.

By Charlie Whitescarver