After 31 years, Gracewinds Music closes their downtown Corvallis location

Josh Enas, Multimedia Contributor

Gracewinds Music has announced that they are preparing to close their store at 137 SW Third St. after over three decades of business.

Since their founding in 1985, Gracewinds has been the music store of choice for countless musicians throughout the mid-Willamette Valley—offering instrument sales, repairs, rentals, and lessons throughout their time in business.

Now, after 31 years of operation, owners Ken, Sharon, and Travis Oefelein have decided that it is time to start a new chapter in their lives. For husband and wife Ken and Sharon, that chapter is retirement; and for their son Travis, that chapter is one in which he can spend more time with his three young children.

“My parents are ready to fully mentally retire [from the business]. The business is always on their minds,” said Oefelein. “My wife is looking to start teaching full time again, and I just adore my kids—that’s really the big thing… I want to spend more time with my kids and have something that’s simpler.”

The closing of the store has ushered in a once-in-a-lifetime sale opportunity, as Gracewinds is seeking to liquidate their entire inventory. Everything in the store has been discounted up to 75 percent—instruments, accessories, books, audio equipment, and even fixtures and décor.

But while this sale will be a golden opportunity for musicians around the area, many are still sad to see the store close.

Angela Carlson, a senior music instructor at Oregon State University and patron of Gracewinds throughout her 30-plus years at the college, reflected on her experiences with the store.

“It was always really great to have a store that you could actually physically walk into and see such an array of wonderful musical paraphernalia,” said Professor Carlson. “And the people that worked there were always so helpful too… It’s sad to see it go—a store that has had so much to offer right here in our own little town.”

Oefelein acknowledges that the decision to close the store has been bittersweet.

“We’ve had such an incredible outpouring of customers sharing their stories and everybody sharing their positive experiences with us. That was really overwhelming,” said Oefelein, “The store has been a big part of my life… and it’s part of my place in the community. There’s going to be something missing for sure once this all settles into reality.”

Gracewinds’ closure also signals the end of a thriving partnership between the store and Oregon State University. The company has long been a supplier of instruments for Oregon State band programs and has sponsored many band events over the years.

Doctor Christopher Chapman, an Associate Professor of Music and the Director of Bands at Oregon State, highlighted the company’s importance to OSU’s band program over the years.

“Having a deep connection with the local music store is vital to any major university in a college town,” said Dr. Chapman in an email, “Our students and faculty in the music department always knew we could count on Gracewinds for instrument purchases and repairs… it was an enormously successful marriage between us.”

Dr. Chapman continued to say that Gracewinds’ impact at OSU is one that stretches beyond the walls of the classroom.

“They knew what many of us have learned as teachers of music: that we are the carriers of the tradition of live arts, that what we do is important for humanity, and that we are all in the arts part of something that is and always will be larger than ourselves,” read Chapman’s email, “Gracewinds understood all of that… they were team partners with us and they will be sorely missed.”

Gracewinds’ online sales division, Musical Supply Direct, will still continue to operate after the store closes. “We strive to uphold the same values our brick and mortar store was built on: customer service, expertise, and a genuine passion for the products we sell,” reads the mission statement on Musical Supply Direct’s website, reassuring customers that they will still have access to quality service in the store’s absence.