For 43 years, Joy Sawyer taught students how to play and love music at Coquitlam Music. Now, at the age of 73, she’s ready to call it a day.
Sawyer, is now a great-grandmother, is getting set to retire and close down her shop in Port Coquitlam.
“It’s not an easy thing for me to say, okay, game over, but I have to,” she said.
“It’s just time … I can’t spend the rest of my life anchored to a counter.”
Sawyer was an accordion teacher at Brentwood Music in 1971, when the little shop on Port Coquitlam’s Shaughnessy Street was going out of business.
Sawyer purchased it, renaming it Coquitlam Music and provided sheet music, instruments and music lessons to scores of students of all ages.
The teacher says she got more than she expected out of the shop. She met thousands of students and parents, some great teachers, and even her husband, and two sons-in-law.
Since she announced her coming retirement in May, many of those students and parents have approached her to tell her about the impact her store had on the community.
“I’m starting to realize it now,” she said. “I’ve been hearing from a lot of people… I didn’t expect this at all,” she said.
“I guess I’ve helped a lot of people to learn music … We’ve made lots of friends and had lots of great customers and families over the years.”
Sawyer has also helped her current teachers find jobs with other local music stores, in preparation for her retirement.
And although there were offers to buy the store and keep it running, she decided to close it down to ensure its legacy remains strong.
“I don’t want to have to be at home worrying about someone carrying on.”
Sawyer will continue to teach her current accordion students at her Maple Ridge home.
Coquitlam Music closes its doors for good on July 31.