Open For Business: Pat's Music Center In Northeast Philadelphia

Vittoria Woodill reports.

Video Transcript

- As we continue our effort to highlight area businesses that are open for business, Vittoria Woodill takes us to a shop in northeast Philadelphia that has been in the music business for more than 80 years. Tori joins us now from her home to tell us more about Pat's Music Center. Hi, Tori.

VITTORIA WOODILL: Hey, Jess. And yeah, if this store's a rockin', you better come a knockin'. That's right, I mean, they've been doing this for decades. And Pat's Music Center is a very special-- very special shop not only to the northeast community but to the area. It's one of the oldest in Philadelphia that's been doing what they do, and actually my dad used to take music lessons there, and maybe you have too. So take a look because Pat's Music Center in northeast Philly is open for business.


Do you play any instruments?

BOB DOMANICO: I don't play any instruments.


VITTORIA WOODILL: You never thought to just pick something up?

BOB DOMANICO: I'm kind of the front of the house guy--


BOB DOMANICO: --you know.

VITTORIA WOODILL: Right. The leader of the band.


BOB DOMANICO: Leader of the band. That's true.




VITTORIA WOODILL: Pat's Music Shop in Mayfair is one of the oldest music shops in Philadelphia.

BOB DOMANICO: Everybody's got a memory of-- you know, whether their dad or their grandmom. I hear it several times a week. I knew your grandfather. Your grandfather fixed my saxophone.

VITTORIA WOODILL: And it was started in 1937 by Bob's grandfather. At the time, it was called the Frankford Saxophone Shop. Eventually it was renamed and Bob's dad would take over, but he wasn't there solo.

BOB DOMANICO: I went down the first day that he took over, and somebody came in and asked for a record, and my father really didn't know what it was. And I says-- Dad, I says we have that record. Then he says well, run after the customer. I says, and I guess the rest is history then.

There's not a day that I don't enjoy going to work. And I guess case in point, I work seven days a week.

- Did you ever get that Coldplay in?


- You did?

BOB DOMANICO: Yeah, I saved it for you.

I've seen from 45s to albums to eight tracks to cassettes to CDs and--


BOB DOMANICO: --now kind of back to vinyl.



While the power of the internet has changed how people buy music, the power of simply listening to music has been evergreen. And because of that, Pat's Music Center has survived the past and the present with the help of their loyal listeners.

BOB DOMANICO: They're looking for simple times because this is a complex time. Because of COVID, you know, music makes them feel better.


VITTORIA WOODILL: Doesn't sound like you are going to stop the music any time soon.

BOB DOMANICO: I can't stop the music.


This is my passion, and I'm going to be here. This is where I want to be.

VITTORIA WOODILL: So your daughter wrote in, and she said that you are the hardest-working person that she knows.

BOB DOMANICO: [LAUGHS] My father instilled that to me, you know, work ethic. And I remember one time I said, Dad, I said, you know, I want to kind of stay home. My friends were coming over to go swimming. And he goes, well, that's great. Let's go to work.


VITTORIA WOODILL: Look at how you've thrived. Was it the work ethic?

BOB DOMANICO: I think so, yeah, just being here all the time. The store runs the best when I'm here.

VITTORIA WOODILL: That's why you're the leader of the band.


VITTORIA WOODILL: I can't help but smile every time I watch this piece because every time I go to these small businesses, when I talk to the owners, they love it. They love what they do. The community loves them. And the reason why we do this segment is because they need our help.

I want to give a shoutout to Bob's daughter who reached out to me, and she said, my dad has never taken a vacation in his entire life because he loves what he does. She did a GoFundMe for Pat's Music Center to make sure that they survived. And, you know, they're doing what they can, but this is really our responsibility to help them out so they don't have to stop the music.

So I encourage all of you to go visit Bob at Pat's Music Center. They do music lessons. They have CDs, vinyl, instruments. They have everything you need-- DJ equipment. So go visit them.

And, Jess, if you were to pick up any vinyl, what do you think you would pick up?

- Oh, any one?

VITTORIA WOODILL: I know. I just put you on-- yeah.

- Pink Floyd.


- I don't know. What would you do?

VITTORIA WOODILL: I'd probably go with Stevie Wonder.

- The Doors?

BOB DOMANICO: Probably do Stevie Wonder. I love The Doors though too.

- What would you do, Uke?

UKEE WASHINGTON: I'd probably do the Isley Brothers maybe. You guys--

- OK.

UKEE WASHINGTON: You guys aren't hip to them, are you?

- Oh wow.

VITTORIA WOODILL: I'm hip to that.

- All right, [INAUDIBLE] band. We'll circle back.

VITTORIA WOODILL: I'm hip to that.


- All right, Tori, thanks.