Legendary music shop relocates to downtown Riv

RACHEL YOUNG PHOTO | A look inside the new Ninow’s Music Store in downtown Riverhead.

Ninow’s Music Store has officially moved to downtown Riverhead.

The legendary shop, which opened on Railroad Avenue in 1957, moved to its new location on West Main Street, across from Chase Bank, earlier this week.

“We could not ask for a better location to be in,” owner Ralph Vail said Thursday. “We feel the cards fell into the place for us to make the move at the right time.”

Although the new shop is operational, Mr. Vail said the move is not yet complete and that displays are still being set up.

Mitchell Taylor, a musical instrument repairman at Ninow’s, said he and Mr. Vail hope the store eventually becomes a hub for local musicians – a place to “jam out” and play both inside the store and outside.

“It’s always been about the music,” Mr. Taylor said.

Mr. Vail, 66, said it was financially necessary for the store, which sells and repairs musical instruments and offers children’s music lessons, to move to a more family-friendly location.

The shop on Railroad Avenue — the business was first opened by Otto Ninow, a German Holocaust survivor — sits next to a bar and a bodega.

“Parents were complaining more and more,” Mr. Vail said of the site of the former store. “Railroad Avenue has just gotten progressively worse. Back in the 1960s and 70s, Riverhead was ‘the country.’ Now it’s grown too fast and too much.”

Mr. Vail and his mother, Edna Vail, 97, took ownership of Ninow’s Music Store on June 4, 1967, when Mr. Ninow retired. Ms. Vail, who plays the piano, accordion and guitar, began teaching music lessons at Ninow’s shortly after the store first opened on Railroad Avenue, and Mr. Vail started working there as a teenager.

“For me, it was an emotional decision,” Mr. Vail said of the move. “I told customers I spent more time in that building on Railroad Avenue than I did in my own house over the years. But while the heart may take it a little differently, the brain knows it’s the right time. We’re excited.”

Read more about Ninow’s Music Store in next week’s issue of The Suffolk Times.

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RACHEL YOUNG PHOTO | The outside of Ninow’s new location in downtown Riverhead.