Legendary Manhattan guitar shop announces plans to close its doors

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GREENWICH VILLAGE, Manhattan — As the years go by in New York City, beloved neighborhood stores close. We’ve seen it again and again. Greenwich Village is a neighborhood that’s seen its big share of turnover.  And now one of the longtime well-known stores on Bleeker Street will be closing its doors.

Matt Umanov Guitars, a Village mainstay since 1969, will close this winter.

“I opened this store in 1969 but that is not when I got started in this business,” Matt Umanov said Tuesday.

The self-described whiz kid began fixing guitars in his teens. But within a few years, he opened a guitar shop that attracted some of music’s biggest stars.

“Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Louis CK, Yul Brynner, it goes on and on,” he said.

The store, which would move twice before settling in its current Bleeker Street location in 1982, was also a source for the city’s working musicians and neighborhood kids. Umanov, 70, now says it’s time to retire.

He owns the building, so he’s not being pushed out, like so many other Bleeker Street shops.

“The Village has changed. All those little mom-and-pop stores, the majority of them have been forced out by higher rents,” he said.

Fancy stores and restaurants, and even the ubiquitous Starbucks, have moved in. And longtime customers are already mourning the loss of Matt Umanov Guitars. As soon as it was announced the store would close, people started showing up.

“I don’t want to let it close without saying goodbye,” Will Carbery said.

Jacob Bernz came from Beacon, New York to purchase a guitar.

“I bought a guitar from the 30s. I don’t know who made it, but it’s tuned really cool and sounds really nice. I’m happy to have a souvenir from this place.”

Everything is 20 percent off. Umanov estimated the store would close its doors for good by early January. It’s another slice of Greenwich Village that will be in the history books.

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