Jordan Kitt’s Music in Glen Allen closed over the weekend after more than 35 years in business. But a former employee is planning to tune up the business model.
Paul King, the former regional manager of the Richmond Jordan Kitt’s, will reopen the shop next month under a new name, Rhapsody Piano and Guitar.
Maryland-based Kitt’s Music sold grand Yamaha and Steinway pianos and operated 11 locations in Maryland, Illinois, Georgia and Virginia. The dealership also offered piano lessons.
The 99-year-old company went up for sale in March and was sold in June to longtime employees Ray Fugere and Chris Syllaba.
Rick Grant had led the company since former owner William McCormick died in 2007.
Fugere, now the chief financial officer and business manager of Kitt’s Music, said some of the stores were closed after the company fell on hard times over the past few years.
“Jordan Kitt’s Music ran into some financial trouble and sold off a couple stores to Steinway,” Fugere said.
Jordan Kitt’s now has locations in Fairfax, Rockville and Atlanta.
Paul King said Fugere and Syllaba weren’t interested in buying the Richmond location.
“Chris didn’t want to take over the lease in Richmond,” he said. “The store here in Richmond was going to cease to exist.”
King, a longtime employee of Kitt’s, said he wanted to continue teaching the students that were taking piano lessons at the Richmond store.
“We had one hundred piano students, and we didn’t want to put them on the street,” King said. “I didn’t want to run the risk of losing the students.”
Although the other Jordan Kitt’s stores were struggling, King said the Richmond location was profitable.
“Richmond was doing well, but you have two or three major markets where the rent is expensive, and those stores aren’t doing well, the smaller market doesn’t make up for the loss,” he said.
King acquired the lines and pianos from the Richmond location.
Along with his partner Wesley Pollard, King will open Rhapsody Piano and Guitar in Short Pump in mid-October.
“We opened our own business and made a clean break from Jordan Kitt’s,” he said.
King said the new business has 100 students that followed him from Kitt’s as well as six teachers.
The shop is under construction and is in the space next to Capri Jewelers in the Short Pump Crossing shopping center on West Broad Street.
Along with teaching lessons, the store will continue to sell Yamaha pianos.
King said the shop would sell everything from $300 keyboards to $100,000 pianos.
“We’ll be the the only authorized Yamaha dealer here in Richmond,” he said.