Lake Bluff Music Store Offers New Life For Old Instruments

Activator Cycles owners expand into second passion, music.

As evidence of music's importance in their lives, entrepreneurs Nick and Shelia Christofalos have old musical instruments in their Lake Bluff home.

Collecting dust.

The recent grand opening of Lake Bluff Music, 36 E. Center St., the storefront space previously occupied by the couple's other business, , will give those unused instruments a chance to find a new home.

"Consignment is a big part of the new business," said Shelia Christofalos.

“There are so many great instruments sitting in people’s houses," she added. "We had a base we hadn’t played with for 12 years, and another instrument my daughter had played in middle school that was just sitting.” 

Customers have the opportunity to buy and sell musical gear on a consignment basis. Expect a 60-day term with 65 percent of profits going to the customer, 35 percent to the store.

“Beginners just starting out will find they can buy an instrument to take lessons with at the same cost as a rental for a few months,” Shelia said.

Lake Bluff Music also offers affordable music-related accessories such as picks, strings and books, all the way to high-end guitars, amps and keyboards.

Saturday’s grand opening brought in Lake Forest High School freshman Kamil Tryzno, who gently took a guitar off a hanger, sat down and started plucking the strings, while describing to those within earshot his impressive knowledge of the details of the 1970s’ design.

“To be able to get strings within biking and walking distance is awesome,” exclaimed Tryzno.

The store will be a gathering place for local musicians, according to Shelia, who is also co-owner of Activator Music Academy, a partner of Lake Forest based    

Lake Bluff Music will sell quality CDs by talented local musicians. , the Lake Forest band performing at the this year, already has their CD on the store's shelves.

The new store will also offer private music lessons. “It can be more convenient for lessons here for Lake Bluff residents then Activator Music Academy,” Christofalos said.

Activator Academy Music School offers private lessons, group classes, band coaching, rehearsal, performance and recording opportunities for Lake Forest, Lake Bluff and Knollwood residents.

A new ukulele group jam and beginning group guitar lessons are already on the store calendar; along with plans for random special events where kids and families from any town can stop in, explained Lake Bluff Music Store Manager Andy Bosnak.

Like the music academy, the store is another way to bring music into the lives of young people. Nick, a Lake Bluff native, previously owned a pest control business in Atlanta, which he sold to Terminix International. Sheila worked in corporate banking and as a sales rep, but wanted something that accommodated a busy parenting schedule.

“Our mission was to bring young people together in a positive way,” Shelia said.

Store hours will be 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. The store will be closed Sundays.

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