Kolacny Music, an institution on South Broadway in Denver, to close

Family-owned musical instrument store Kolacny Music, which opened almost a century ago, will close at the end of September.

Established in 1930, the store at 1900 S. Broadway in Denver has offered a trifecta of services – the sale, rental and repair of band and orchestra instruments – for decades. An announcement made in late July disclosed the news, pegging the closing date as Sept. 30.

Co-owner David Kolacny confirmed that the owners of three nearby properties offered to buy the building, but he declined to identify their names or the final sale price.

Kolacny’s grandfather, William, first started the business, then passed it on to Kolacny’s father, Richard. In the 1970s, Kolacny came on board, and has worked six or seven days a week for the past 45 years, alongside his sister, Donna, and his wife, Debbie.

Financial reasons largely influenced the decision to shutter the store.

“We never made a lot of money,” Kolacny said in a Thursday interview. “Our bookkeeper’s been telling us for the last 10 years that we should probably close – it wasn’t really a viable business.”

Without a “big slush fund” to fall back on, “at the end of the month, we were just happy if we paid our bills,” he added.

The COVID-19 pandemic hit the store hard, forcing the owners to take out a couple of large loans to stay afloat.

“Our bookkeeper kept telling us, ‘You know, you’re never going to make enough money to pay these loans off, and they’re secured by your houses, so that’s not a good thing,’” Kolacny said.

Uncertain about the future of the U.S. economy and the likelihood of other sale offers, he said, “When we got the opportunity to sell it, we decided it was the right time.”

Up until recently, his store employed a team of 14, including the family members. After the move out, his spouse and sibling will find other jobs, while Kolacny will continue repairing harps as “one of the few harp technicians in the country” in a remodeled room behind his garage.

For three generations of customers, “it’s been an emotional thing,” he said, with some standing “in the showroom, crying.”

To prospective patrons, he notes that the store doesn’t sell guitars or keyboards, but is offering 40% off its instruments and 30% off its music and accessories.

For now, Kolacny remains focused on the task at hand.

“I’ve got so much to do,” like emptying the building, he said. “It’s unbelievable how much stuff we’ve got in this building – you know, 93 years worth of stuff.”

So far, he’s come across old photographs, even finding his grandfather’s clarinet in the process.

“I don’t have time to really be sad – or even reflective,” Kolacny said. “I’ve got to get this done, and then I figure I can be sad later.”

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