Changing its tune: Downtown Sounds to become worker-owned cooperative after retirement of founder Joe Blumenthal

“It’s really an institution in the community,” Blumenthal said this week.

Blumenthal, 70, opened the store in 1976, with no musical background. Yet his father told him that if he was going to own a music store, he would have to learn how to play. More than four decades later, music is a vital part of Blumenthal’s life. He plays in the groups Klezamir, Orkestar Banitsa, Mando Paradiso, and the Expandable Brass Band, leads the ukulele club AEIOUkes and plans on devoting his retirement to playing music.

But before he steps away from the business he built for good, Blumenthal is seeking to pass it down to his employees.

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