Banko’s d’Ansonia ends sales of musical instruments

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ANSONIA – Joe Shapiro’s dream of buying Banko’s was “to make it the center of the music scene in the valley and beyond”.

Rising costs and stagnant sales put those plans aside after two years.

“It was a gamble,” said Shapiro, a Shelton resident who previously made a living designing management software for jewelry stores. “I thought it was a bet I could win.”

Shapiro announced it was shutting down the retail business on September 1.

Shapiro was a former customer who bought the business and the building it was housed in in October 2016 from Joe and Sherry Salvati and kept them as store managers.

While he was the owner, he poured money into the store, giving Banko a new look. The exterior has been given a coat of dark blue paint to stand out on East Main Street. Inside, ground-level clutter is gone, high-end guitars have been hung on the walls, and the seven soundproof classrooms upstairs have been renovated. He announced that he would beat internet prices and that he would not be under-sold.

And while he claimed his sales had doubled over the course of his ownership, he needed it to be multiplied by seven to support inventory, expenses and two full-time employees, he said. he declares.

“I’ve put in money every month for the past two years and I just couldn’t take it anymore,” he said. “It’s disappointing.

“We didn’t have enough people to buy musical instruments,” Shapiro said. “The economy of the Valley is not conducive to independent musical instrument stores.

He let go of his marketing director and informed the Salvatis that their last day is August 31. Banko’s goods will be in liquidation until August 25, with all goods in stock being delivered between 10 and 25%.

Despite the store’s closure, Banko’s will continue to offer music lessons upstairs. Shapiro guaranteed that the prices of the courses for the students would remain the same “for at least two years”.


“From September 1, only the central door (which leads upstairs) will be open,” Shapiro said. “We continue to engage in music education, so we will keep and even hope to expand the course program. “

The two remaining storefronts will be rented, Shapiro said.

“We’re still going to have the mike open every Tuesday at 7 pm,” said Shapiro, who enjoys joining his guitar. “It will be right upstairs.

The nonprofit Banko’s Music Foundation, which funded Saturday’s Rock the Summer concert, despite the rain, at Nolan Field with NRBQ, will continue. Whether or not the foundation will offer another free concert next year is pending.

“We will continue to fundraise for music scholarships,” he said.

“We are very sad that this has not been successful,” said Sherry Salvati. She said her husband Joe had been with the store since 1979 when he started working for Frank Banko, the Oxford resident who started the business in 1955.

In its heyday, Banko’s was the place to go for music. She rented instruments to most of the music students in the Valley schools. This business was lost years ago to national rental companies.

“It would have been helpful if we got it back,” Shapiro said. “But that wouldn’t have put us over the top. Music programs are in decline in schools.

Seymour customer Kevin Anderson said he will miss the personal touch the retail store offers.

“The staff were like family,” said Anderson, who said he would continue to take jazz guitar lessons there.


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