The Joy of Music

Royalton Music Center serves musicians from across the area—and beyond.
Friday, May 6, 2011

In the midst of a tough economy, and the closing of countless music and other niche stores across the country, one local music business is bucking the trend and undergoing a major expansion.

After 47 years in the same location, Royalton Music Center (RMC)has recently relocated a mile down Royalton Road into a new 9,000 square foot building, still centrally located between I-71 and I-77 for easy accessibility.

The impetus for the expansion—that doubled the store’s original size—is clearly because RMC is like no other kind of music store. It’s a destination for people of all ages and abilities, from preschoolers to aspiring professional musicians, who want to be immersed in music.

“From our youngest four-year-old violin student to an 80-year-old pianist who has been coming to our store for decades, everyone benefits from the joy of music,” says Lauren Haas Amanfoh, owner of the family-run business that has been in North Royalton for nearly a half century (making it the second oldest business in the city).

Just as the original 600 square foot building has evolved since opening its doors in 1964, so have its offerings.

RMC has a full line of band and orchestra instruments, guitars, amplifiers, percussion equipment, sheet music, certified repairs and accessories. Along with sales, the store offers an equity-building rental program for beginner students with the option to purchase or return an instrument at any time.

“We carry more than 50 lines from the most trusted brands in the industry. We have instruments ranging from a $1 kazoo to a $20,000 flute, and everything in between,” says Megan Malko, store manager. “We are constantly adding new brands without cutting back like other stores have been forced to in recent years.”

The store’s vast inventory matches anything you could find online—and is actually better priced.

“Just like it is hard to buy clothes online, so is buying a musical instrument,” comments Lauren. “You really have to try before you buy because each instrument is unique and plays differently.”

Royalton Music Center is a mecca for musicians, not only from Ohio, but from around the world as well. “We have professional musicians who come from Chicago, New York, Washington D.C. and even Taiwan and Brazil,” she says.

To serve this market, the store launched Professional Suite by RMC for those who are more serious about music, whether that’s a seventh grader sitting first chair, a high school student auditioning at colleges, or a member of The Cleveland Orchestra.

“In addition to serving people in our own backyard who are just starting in music, we are proud to be a resource for aspiring musicians,” says Lauren.

The new store was designed to include 19 rooms for private lessons and a recital area complete with a stage and baby grand piano. “All of our 42 instructors are degreed musicians and also performers,” says Lauren. “We teach everything from piano, guitar and voice to upright bass, French horn and ukulele.”

Throughout the year, Royalton Music Center offers special educational programs, including recitals, a summer jazz band, an interactive rock band and exclusive master classes.

“We believe performing is an integral part of learning,” says Lauren. “Our summer programs give our students an opportunity to perform at recitals in our store and around town, including at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.”

RMC is also pleased to offer music therapy for special needs individuals.

In its third generation as a family-owned company, Lauren is continuing her grandfather’s and mother’s legacies of excellence. A magna cum laude graduate of The Ohio State University, Lauren is a consummate musician and has performed professionally on the French horn, piano and bass guitar. She worked in New York at Columbia Artists for some of the biggest names in classical music and helped launch the careers of artists through the Young Concert Artists Series at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and The Kennedy Center. In 2009, this North Royalton High School graduate moved back home to help local musicians and expand the business again to serve its growing customer base.