After traveling across the country and world for many years playing music, Gus Wieland finally settled down in Mahopac more than two decades ago. With his love of music still strong, he knew he wanted to spread that joy to other people in the community.
That’s when he decided to open Putnam Music Center, which will be celebrating its 20th year in business next April. Opening the shop back in 1999, he felt he was filling a void in the community.
“The town needs it, the community needs it,” Wieland said, explaining his thinking for opening two decades ago. “So that’s what we did.”
Putnam Music is a full retail shop, offering instruments and accessories, repairs and lessons for any instrument that exists. The store will also rent instruments out to local schools.
Wieland fell in love with music when he was a teen and first listened to The Beatles in 1965 at the age of 13. Wieland can still recall everyone sitting around and watching The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show. He started playing guitar and hasn’t stopped since.
“Everybody in the world said get me a guitar, I want to play,” Wieland said.
(When asked who his favorite Beatle was, Wieland said, “They’re all great in their own way…how could you have a favorite?” As for his favorite Beatles song, Wieland said it’s “She’s Leaving Home.”)
For dozens of years, Wieland performed all over the world. He is most known for playing with Chubby Checker, who was the King of the Twist, and rock band The Turtles. Wieland played at several different arenas, including Madison Square Garden.
But Wieland reached the point where he was tired of “living out of a suitcase” and was ready to settle down. He still plays occasionally, going away on weekends for certain gigs and is finishing up a CD, but for the most part focuses on his music store.
“The business really takes all of my attention now,” Wieland said.
Wieland never imagined he would one day open a music store until he moved to Mahopac and saw that a music store was needed. And when he opened, he never thought he would be around 20 years later.
“Living and working in the community is really the most important thing,” he said. “I didn’t want to work outside the community, I much rather put my effort into where I live.”Putnam Music Store is located at 609 Route 6 in Mahopac and its phone number is 845-621-2626.