The Folk Shop, a music store known around the Southwest for its hard-to-find and vintage instruments, has a new owner.
Longtime KXCI radio host Milo Solujic bought the store in July from Paul Blumentritt, who ran The Folk Shop 25 of its 31 years. Blumentritt announced in October 2015 that he was looking to retire and wanted to sell the shop.
Solujic was a customer of The Folk Shop going back to its earliest days downtown and spent months shadowing Blumentritt on weekends to get to know the business and the customers. He decided to take the leap because of The Folk Shop’s strong connection to Tucson’s music community and its reputation that reaches far beyond the Tucson city limits largely through its strong online sales.
“To buy a business that’s already established … he’s got a strong customer base,” said Solujic, who brought back instrument tech and salesman Wally Lawder, who had briefly left the store last year.
Solujic, who works full-time in accounting, spent two years running Velvet Rags and Mercantile boutique at Monterey Court with Merricat Roy. The store sold women’s fashions, Hawaiian shirts, knick-knacks and crafts. Roy is now working with Solujic at The Folk Shop.
Solujic, fiddler of the Lost Hombres band that plays Friday nights at HiFalutin restaurant, is The Folk Shop’s third owner. B.L. Anderson opened it in 1986 in a 600-square-foot space on North Fourth Avenue downtown. Blumentritt and his wife/business partner Brenda bought the store in 1991 and moved it in late 1995 to its current 1,800-square-foot storefront at 2525 N. Campbell Ave., across the street from Rainbow Guitars shop.
The shop is a popular hangout for musicians, several of whom volunteer to help out, Solujic said.
“When somebody comes to the shop, they’re talking to someone who’s actually playing music,” he said.