April 30, 2015

Closed: Noe Valley Music


Noe Valley Music, the local neighborhood music store at 3914 24th Street run by Doug Roomian since 1986, has quietly closed up shop and vanished. The sign over the door is gone, the door is padlocked, and there’s nothing left inside except bare walls.

When we checked in with neighboring shops to find out where it might have moved or what happened, none of the other merchants even noticed NVM was gone – and there’s no note in the window. Clerks at two neighboring stores didn't even know what music store we were talking about (we're looking at you See Jane Run and Good news). Sad.

Noe Valley Music was definitely a music shop from a different era. As one reviewer on Yelp put it: "Cute little neighborhood shop where you can grab a set of strings, a slide, or some random part if you happen to build instruments."

Anyone who took lessons or bought strings there have any details?

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ah..dang. Bummer. Wonder if it was standard landlord raising the rent.

Jason said...

It's sad whenever a local shop goes under, but this place didn't really have anything worth going there for - just a bunch of cheap off-brand stuff and junky used instruments. I don't know how it lasted as long as it did.

cf said...

They had a nice selection of ukuleles.

Anonymous said...

the guy who ran that place did an amazing setup job on my guitar. perfect action and intonation (set it up specifically to the alternate tuning i usually use as well) ...kind of bummed to hear about this, i was planning to have him do my other ones eventually but never got around to it since i don't play so often these days :/

Anonymous said...

Not sure if this was the reason but I chatted with Doug a few month's ago and he said people just weren't buying guitars enough anymore and the only thing he was selling was ukuleles and strings and that was not a sustainable biz model in his mind

Anonymous said...

Sad...just another little piece of neighborhood character gone. That said, I never frequented the place so....

Anonymous said...

My girlfriend bought me a ukulele here, love the thing to death. I was genuinely planning to go here this weekend to buy a book for it. Oh well! Just another canary in the coal mine that is the ghost of local san francisco. Looking forward to another organic baby clothes store or craft cocktail bar.

Anonymous said...

All you naysayers who immediately jump to a negative conclusion that it "must be the landlord who raised the rent".

Calm down. stop assuming.

If a business, any business does not sell enough of a product or service to make a living and a profit, they will go out of business.

Simple.

Tom said...

Does anyone know how I can get ahold of Doug? There is a Gibson SG that was hoping to buy today

Prescott Woodruff said...

Superb repair work. Bought my first Martin there. A shame to see it go. Was a gem. If anyone knows of he's opening another shop in town I would love to hear about it.

Anonymous said...

Good luck, Doug. Hope all's well. I went there today with an old Harmony bass that needed attention and was stunned to see the store. I had to look twice.

Anonymous said...

Could he have another shop? Google thinks so. No info other than a phone number and address. Not even a Yelp review.

Anonymous said...

I usually hate to see an old shop close, but for this one I'll happily make an exception. He personally ripped me off for a bunch of money by misrepresenting an instrument. When I found out about it (after getting the instrument appraised by experts), he simply refused to acknowledge the appraisals, and insisted these people were lying to buy my instrument for cheap. Later I found out that he was well-known for this kind of sketchiness, because people were telling me stories similar to mine.

If he'd acknowledged his error, he'd have had me (along with others he ripped off) as a customer for life, and he'd have got bunch more money for the foreseeable. Instead, he went for a quick buck at a customer's expense. So business was poor? Doesn't surprise me a bit.

I think it's also telling that, after so many years here in Noe Valley, the nearby merchants had no idea about the closure or about the business period. Doug Roomian was not particularly known for pitching in around the neighborhood, and he didn't have anything particularly good to say about the neighborhood business association, either.

John-Carlos said...

Went by the store today, sad but hopeful that Doug will reappear in some new form. Thanks for everything Doug, see you soon!

Alex de Grassi said...

it's been a long time since i've lived in the neighborhood, but I always enjoyed dropping in for strings, a tuner, or chat with Dale and Doug and all the guys there. Doug is a good repairman, i wonder if he's
still doing repair out of his shop at home? hard to believe anonymous's comment about getting ripped off--not the NV Music I remember.
Alex de Grassi

Nick B. said...

I bought several instruments from Doug at NV Music over the years; he was always straight up and reasonably priced. Sorry to see him go.

Anonymous said...

This place set up my new Taylor acoustic decently. Still, 24th street deserves better. I'm relatively new to the neighborhood, and I'm surprised that this street is talked up so much. It has too many stores selling mediocre junk. Natural turnover in stores is good because without change, a street ends up with a lot of junky store showcasing stuff that nobody wants to buy, i.e. 24th street.

Stratocharger said...

Despite the neg. comments above Doug built me three GREAT guitars and we've had a multi decade relationship. This closure of another Sf touchstone hurts me deeply.

Anonymous said...

I remember once walking down 24th Street in front of a couple of guys. One guy was a local showing his friend from out of town around. As they passed Noe Valley Music, the local said to the visitor, "This music store is TERRIBLE. Never go there." I think that sums up my own opinion very well.

Stratocharger said...

How does just arrived "Annon." know the "local" waking ahead with his Friend from out of town, My own "Experience" and that of Alex carry A LOT more weight than an "Annon. Troll. Don't like the junky stores on the street?.. Do you offer any alternatives?.. Guitar Center perhaps..

Anonymous said...

Just discovered NVM is gone. Doug did an excellent job on two instruments for me recently. I hope all is well with them both. For those interested, there is Roomian Instruments Facebook page that has been updated recently. The pictures are clearly Doug.

Anonymous said...

The Noe Valley Voice published an article on the store, which included details about how to get a hold of Doug, the history of the place, etc. http://www.noevalleyvoice.com/2015/June/index.html