Farewell to Matt Umanov Guitars

Matt Umanov Guitars, Exterior.

Last week Matt Umanov Guitars released the following bittersweet statement: “After fifty-three years of having been in the business of helping so many guitar (and all the other fretted instruments) players have the tools with which to make music, forty-eight of those years at my store here in Greenwich Village, in the great City of New York, it is finally time for me to close this chapter of my life, relax some, travel some, play with the grandkids, all that kind of thing, though I wouldn’t quite call it “retirement”; I’ll still be around.

There is no expiring lease or greedy landlord tripling the rent, as Umanov has owned his building for the past 25 years. He just thinks at 70 years old, it’s time for a change.

We understand. But Matt Umanov Guitars will be missed by many, particularly us here at GVSHP, to whom Matt has been a great friend. Umanov Guitars exemplified a creative, vital, local business. Matt was a staunch advocate for the preservation of the South Village, where his business was located, and where he lived and owned property. He was a member of GVSHP’s Historic South Village Advisory Board, spoke at our 2007 Columbus Day Salute to the South Village, and did a “Save the South Village” video for GVSHP. Thanks to the efforts of Matt and many others, his part of the South Village was landmarked in 2010.

Matt Umanov.

Umanov Guitars was a 1996 GVSHP Village Awardee and January, 2016, GVSHP Business of The Month. Matt also authored a great story about Bob Dylan in GVSHP’s book Greenwich Village Stories, which he does not repeat in the oral history GVSHP conducted with him in 2015 because “I’ve had to tell it so many times…Buy the damned book….because two things will have been served: one, since the amount of money from it goes to support GVSHP, you will be giving money to GVSHP, and two, you will save me from having to tell you that story again.”

Although the Dylan story is not part of the oral history, there are plenty of other amazing stories in there, including his family history, the founding of the business, its operations for the past 50 years, and the successful attempts of Village residents to keep out businesses they were united against, such as noisy bars, “cheap” jewelry stores, and large chains. Umanov is offering 20% off everything in the store, which he anticipates closing for good by January.

We at GVSHP wish Matt all the best and sincerely THANK him for his 50 years of being an integral part of the community, first on Bedford Street in 1969, then 276 Bleecker Street in 1977, and in its current location at 273 Bleecker since 1982.

Read the full statement on the shop’s closing on Umanov’s website here.

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One comment on “Farewell to Matt Umanov Guitars
  1. Sam Moskowitz William Bieler (AKA BillyRingo) says:

    Mr. Umanov and All Workers

    Very Sad that this Wonderful! Store that has helped me, and many other people through the
    years is now closing forever. But we all have to live our lives and nothing is forever as they say. We don’t realize
    these things come to pass till they happen, and the reality then sinks in. I myself want to say
    I appreciated all the years coming to the store with all the Great! People working there through the years. I can mention all there names but won’t, not sure if they want there names mentioned. But every one of the workers there were always helpful caring, sincere, and also considerate of your problems when you brought them to there attention, as well as the best! Guitars and repair men through the years in the business. I will sadly miss the store, the people. I was fortunate to meet Mr.Umanov many years ago who helped me with my guitars till this day! With honest and sincere caring as I said for my instrument, which I did get my Guild D-55 Dreadnaught not sure of the spelling? But can tell you the best guitar I ever owned and also it was always taken care of as it was felt part of me. So again I Pray that all the fellows who are working, and worked there are well and going to new pastures with only happiness for themselves, as well as Matt who made all these years a beautiful store and always being there for all who needed a good guitar, and also having it taken care of when services needed. Always was honest, very good prices selling as well. God Speed Matt, and enjoy your retirement with all your family, you deserve a good rest with many years of enjoyment ahead for you. Thank You for being there as well as all the fellows who also worked there for all these years. I myself would be lost without the store and all the fellows who were always there to help me when I needed it. Again, May God Bless, Thank You For Everything you will be sorely missed.

    Sincerely
    BillyRingo

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