273 Bleecker Street ca. 1940. Future location of Matt Umanov Guitars.

Our building.

Our building. We’ve been here for over forty years now, and it's been here for just over a hundred, since 1922. It was built to last and it has, a nice, solid little three-story brick structure put up for commercial purposes in a neighborhood and on a street that at the time was considered old and kinda rundown and a place that had gone from workers’ residential in the 1840s to low-level non-retail commercial and cheap artists’ studios in the 1920s and local residential shopping from about 1900 to the early 1970s to hip retail from the late 70s to this day. We were fortunate enough to get the store level in 1982, tripling the size of our prior place across the street, and adding the second floor for workshop and increased inventory storage in 1993. in 2017, after forty-eight years of retail (we had another even smaller place from 1969 to 1977) I decided it was time to relax my life some and close the walk-in store part of the business, but we kept the second floor for the repair shop and office space and internet sales, still doin’ it here.

Older buildings need to be kept up with, just like so many other older things we treasure, and lately major masonry work has been needed on the outer walls. Days of noise from an ancient layer of cement having to be hammered off the brickwork; sand and cement needing to be brought up to the roof for the re-do; huge piles of old hardened cement debris needing to be brought down. All this by hand because there just isn’t room on these little Greenwich Village streets for derricks and lifts. And despite the noise and the dirt and all the other inconveniences, it'll have been worth it. Just like we take care of the treasured old guitar that's been in the family for decades that we’ve loved playing forever but has slowly, slowly, been asking for a little TLC, we do the right thing not only for ourselves but for those who will follow us. We are, after all, the keepers and protectors of these lovely old friends, not just the possessors, so that they will be here for the next generation and the generations after that to enjoy. And we feel good that we’ve done the right thing.
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