Grand Rapids’ Rainbow Music Closing After 42 Years
It seems like it has been located on the westside of Grand Rapids forever. It originally started in a storefront at Alpine and Leonard (now the parking lot for Walgreen's) before moving into an old five and dime drugstore a little west of their original location. Rainbow Music, at 1148 Leonard St. NW, will soon be closing their doors for good.
Co-owners Pete Bardolph and John Gelderloos both grew up in Chicago, before moving to Grand Rapids to attend Calvin College. They also put together a country-rock band called "Lazy". Bardolph received a double major in math and music, while his friend Gelderloos majored in music.
In 1979, the two decided to open up a music store on the corner of Leonard and Alpine. Over the years they built up a pretty good business. In the 1990s, once the internet businesses started up and chain stores moved into the area, the competition became greater for Rainbow Music -- but they survived.
With both men nearing the age of retirement, they decided it might be a good time to sell their business. They had a buyer lined up -- but that deal fell through because of the COVID-19 pandemic, even though business really picked up, as many turned to music while stuck at home. The two decided it is just time to call it quits -- and will be closing the store on Saturday, June 12th.
Once retired, Bardolph is planning to open up Pete's Guitar Service to repair and help customers maintain their guitars. The business will be located a block west of the current Rainbow Music location. He will also still perform as the lead guitarist in the Beatles tribute band called "That Beatles Thing". As for Gelderloos, he plans to spend his retirement volunteering at both the Grand Rapids Public Museum and Blandford Nature Center.
If you would like to stop buy and wish the two "Happy Retirement", there will be a chance to do so at The Mitten Brewing Co. (at 527 Leonard Street, NW) on Sunday, June 13th from 3 to 6 pm -- their first official day of being retired.
What will happen to the building that started out as a neighborhood dime store before becoming Rainbow Music? That building has been sold and will become home to a medical and retail marijuana business.