Though it has operated since 1984 in a renovated building on North Washington Avenue in Lansing, MI, Elderly Instruments has recently undertaken a major exterior facelift. And what an update it is!
Owner Stan Werbin has commissioned Los Angeles artist Jennifer Springman to design and apply a custom music-based mural to the 68′ X 15′ face of the building. Work has been ongoing since June, and the slowly emerging artwork has become a favorite topic of conversation among folks in the Old Town commercial district in Lansing.
First the face of the building was painted in a solid white, and then images of guitars, banjos, musicians and logos began to appear against an ivory background, along with recognizable aspects of the Lansing skyline. People driving by on a regular basis have enjoyed watching the work progress, and it has attracted coverage in the local media.
The mural actually appears on a building adjacent to the original Elderly location on North Washington, which was connected to it in the early ’90s. They now operate in roughly 35,000 sq ft of retail, repair, and administrative space.
Elderly has become one of the premier sellers of fretted stringed instruments, accessories, and instructional materials in the world. Though they carry both acoustic and electric instruments, Werbin is a banjo player and folk, bluegrass, and old time music enthusiast. Few shops carry the extensive line of banjos, mandolins and guitars that is continually stocked there in Lansing, and their offerings of strings, CDs, books, and DVDs is very nearly comprehensive.
The company began in the early ’70s when Werbin began circulating a list of vintage instruments he had for sale. He soon became the focus of collectors, with a great volume of guitars and amplifiers being offered for consignment sale. In fact the Elderly Instruments Vintage Update is still delivered to thousands of interest parties each week, though email is now the preferred method. Though they have grown to a large company shipping all over the world, Elderly Instruments is still owned and operated by Werbin and his family.
This coming Tuesday, July 21, Elderly will host a grand unveiling event and invite all of Lansing to swing by for a look at the completed project. It’s a fine gift to the community that has been their home for more than 30 years, and a nice visual addition to the landscape of the western Old Town district.
Here are a few more photos of the mural in various stages of completion, courtesy of the Elderly staff.