During the Rockley family's 70 plus years of operating the Rockley Music Center on West Colfax, adapting to the needs of the community has been vital. When Melvin and Mildred Rockley opened the …
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During the Rockley family's 70 plus years of operating the Rockley Music Center on West Colfax, adapting to the needs of the community has been vital. When Melvin and Mildred Rockley opened the store's original location at Colfax and Wadsworth in 1946, the family sold washers, dryers, print music, record players and band and orchestral instruments.
Once 1955 hit, the couple moved their business to its current location at 8555 W. Colfax Ave. where they designed and helped to build the location. The washers and dryers were replaced with music records, a guitar department and a teaching studio where residents could learn instruments. Eventually, a piano department was created along with a piano showroom.
But all good things must come to an end, and the Rockley Music Center is planning on closing its Lakewood location, hopefully by the end of the year. The instruments like violins, violas, cellos, basses, grand pianos, keyboards and more will be sold for what the store is calling “once in a generation” prices starting Nov. 19.
“The word that comes to mind is iconic,” said Liane Rockley, vice president of the Rockley Music Center, when describing the store. “Most of the community that has been here in our area for a long time has always known us. We're one of the landmark locations, kind of like Davey's Chuck Wagon Diner.”
Michael Alcorn, who went to Alameda International JR/SR High School in Lakewood, has taught music for 29 years. Nowadays, he teaches elementary music at 10 schools, including at Allendale Elementary School and West Woods Elementary School in Arvada. He said that whenever he's had a student looking to purchase an instrument like a drum set, he recommended the Rockley Music Center. He particularily remembers the instrument rental program the store offered.
“Any kid who played in band or orchestra (in the Lakewood area) went through the Rockley music store,” said Alcorn.
“There's not that many music stores in the Denver area, and they'll be remembered for serving a population that is very energetic and (didn't) have that many options. Rockley has done a good job of providing resources for people who wanted to get started (in music),” Alcorn said.
One of those resources included the Rockley Music Center's teaching studio, a place that served students like Carl Eager. Eager, a junior at Lakewood High School, has aspirations to be a jazz musician. He went to the Rockley Music Center for three years where he took trombone lessons.
“The people there are great, and I think it helped me going there. I have a lot of good memories there,” said Eager.
Although Rockley Music Center is shutting down its Lakewood location, it's not going away entirely. The business will say goodbye to retail life and will turn its attention to its nonprofit — the Rockley Family Foundation. It works to bring music education to schools and students in need by raising money for music scholarships, donating music instruments to under privileged communities and more.
Once the Rockley Music Center closes, the business will move to a warehouse location where it will offer piano moving, storage, tuning and limited sales.
“We're looking forward to going into the next location, and we're excited to bring music in a tangible way. It's what the community needs us to do,” said Tobin Rockley, owner of the Rockley Music Center, and the grandson of Melvin and Mildred Rockley. “We're looking forward to getting to serve musicians into the next generation.”
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