About Mikes Music
Something About Our History
Customers often ask our staff about the history of the store. Mike’s Music began when Mike, then a local Anchorage School District orchestra student, decided to start renting and selling new and used musical instruments to help fund his own musical endeavors.
In 1993 Mike Dunckle, having acquired his first violin, began to dream about what the world of music had in store for him. A veteran Birchwood Elementary School orchestra member of about 3 months, he felt he needed an instrument worthy of the musician he hoped to become. After all, it is easier to learn to play on a good quality, well set up instrument.
He shared his dream with his parents. He informed them that he wanted a new professional quality instrument (expected to cost in excess of $10,000). His mother was stunned speechless (which was unusual for her). When she regained her ability to speak, she responded with the usual "we'll see." After all, what parent is willing to commit to that kind of request after a few months of playing? It became apparent, later in the school year, that Mike did possess some talent for violin and he was still insisting on an expensive instrument.
As you can probably imagine, Mike’s parents were unenthused at the idea of investing such a large sum of money in an instrument for a student who had barely reached 12 years of age. Instead they advised, as many parents do, that Mike should get a job and earn his own money.
This is usually enough to deter a child who is not serious about acquiring an item. The parents also felt that if Mike was willing to put in years of snow shoveling, lawn mowing, etc., he would certainly deserve and take good care of an expensive violin.
Mike’s idea of ‘earning your own money’ was significantly different. Enter now, Mike, with a whole different concept of work. Mike wanted to work in an area that interested him, something along the lines of music. He knew he didn't have the ability yet to command large sums of money for his performances.
His mother made an off hand comment about how students need instruments to play in the school program. Most students rent instruments until the parents can afford to buy or until the parents are fairly sure the student will continue in music. Mike figured, "AHA!!, I can open a store and rent instruments to other students."
He presented this idea to his parents, who realized (after the initial shock) it was a great idea. They felt it would be a good investment of his savings and would be willing to help him get started with some additional funds for instrument purchase. That summer, they purchased used instruments and (with the help of his violin teacher, Philip Burch) learned the basics of setting up instruments, instrument care, and found suppliers for parts.
Mike worked the business out of their home over the school year. By summer, it was evident that there was a need for a local music store and that the concept was worth pursuing. The family decided it was feasible to open a store for the fall season. If it worked out, then it would become a full time retail store. Mike's dad was willing to help him out at the store.
Mike’s mom arranged for a temporary store front rental while researching the best way to include band instruments in their rental fleet. They approached The Music Man of Anchorage, another family business. They were open to Mike's entrepreneurial spirit and worked out an agreement to provide Mike's customers with quality band instruments. This arrangement proved to be very successful for several years for both stores.
That fall and through Christmas, Eagle River customers responded so well to having a local music store that Mike was able to commit to a long term business. After the first year at the Eagle River location, Mike ordered his hand made violin from local maker John Osnes. Mike signed the check and received his violin in September of 1997.
The store continued to expand product lines and moved twice to expand after the original location. When the store moved locations in 2004, Mike took on several new product lines and was able to secure dealerships that allowed him to offer his own band instruments. In 2008, growth spurred Mike’s Music to move again to their current location on the Old Glenn Highway just a short distance from their original location.
Mike developed a new career outside Alaska and has no immediate plans to return. Mike’s Music has closed in order for Mike's mom to retire.
Sharon Dunckle (aka Mike's Mom)....
Currently handling the back office, Sharon has been with the store since Mike first started it. She is currently handling the remaining rental accounts and selling off the final repair parts and tools and a few display items remaining from the store closure.