Beloved music store in Alaskan town forced to close due to earthquake damage


A much loved music store in a small Alaskan town has been forced to close due to Earthquake damage.

Mike’s Music in Eagle River will close today, meaning the town will be without any music stores. 

The shop opened more than 25 years ago, when Mike Dunckle, then a 12-year-old schoolboy in a local orchestra, convinced his parents to help him start an instrument rental business to pay for a $10,000 professional-grade violin. 

But due to a a 7.1 magnitude earthquake that hit the town of 23,000 people last November, the store can no longer go on trading, despite being the spiritual home for the town’s musical community for more than two decades.

‘He just didn’t want to mow lawns,’ Sharon Dunckle, the store’s owner and Mike’s mother told the Alaskan Star of her son’s ambition.

Discussing the store closing she continued: ‘It’s absolutely bittersweet.

‘The aftereffects of the earthquake and not anyone understanding we’re open has hurt the business and it’s just not sustainable.

‘And I’m 66, it’s time to retire and spend time with my grandkids, not start rebuilding a business.’ 

The 2018 Anchorage earthquake led to the store closing for two weeks over the busy Christmas period. 

Even when it reopened, business was affected as one of the strip mall the shop resided in remained closed with walls propped up with support beams from the outside.     

Deals ranging from up to 70 per cent off were seen in the store as it closed down and customers will be keep their instruments for the life of their contracts.

‘We’re not trying to talk anybody into anything but we’re trying to give them as many options as possible,’ Sharon added. ‘We know the store closing is going to be inconvenient for the community, but we’re trying to make it easy if we can.’ 

She added that she hopes a new store will take its place so locals don’t need to travel far for instruments.  

The store began when in the early nineties, the family purchased several instruments, which schoolboy Mike then began to rent out to other student musicians.     

By the time Mike was 16, he earned enough money to buy himself a handmade violin from a local maker.     

Despite Mike’s passion for music, he is now pursuing a career in law enforcement outside of Alaska. Meanwhile Sharon claims she is ‘tone deaf’ and ‘cannot play an instrument’.  

‘Music brings people joy. Music crosses all boundaries. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you are, how you identify, it doesn’t matter, because everybody loves music’ she said.  


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