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Shockey selling downtown building

September 07, 1999|By DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

After spending most of the last 67 years selling organs, pianos and sometimes furniture in downtown Hagerstown, one might think the "for sale" sign in the front window at Shockey's is a sign that 92-year-old John E. Shockey is closing up shop and retiring.

Shockey said even his wife thinks he'll be retiring.

But he isn't.

Once the building is sold, the Shockey name and any leftover merchandise will go into a new, smaller store in Hagerstown, he said. Longtime employee Don House, who currently handles most of the store's business, will own the store at the new location. Shockey said he'll go to work for him.

Shockey and House said they will transfer their Yamaha and Baldwin Organ sales franchises to the new store.

About two months ago, Shockey decided to sell the four-story building at 30 Summit Ave. His wife of 39 years, Elizabeth, wanted him to sell the building. And the four-story building has "about three times the space we need," Shockey said.

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He said business is still going well. House estimated the store sells about five or six pianos a month.

Shockey said a key to the longevity of his business is: "We don't owe five cents."

Shockey owns the building and the inventory.

"We put everything we made back into the business," he said.

Shockey opened his first store on West Franklin Street across from the post office in 1932. A couple of years later, Shockey bought and moved into the Summit Avenue building. He paid $40,000 for it then. Now he is asking $300,000 for the 38,000-square-foot building.

Dozens of pianos and organs are on each of the four floors in the old building, which was also used as a dormitory by Fairchild Aircraft in the 1940s.

House said there may be as many as 400 pianos and organs in the building.

Shockey, a retired Army lieutenant colonel who served in the reserves for many years, is also an avid shooter.

He has lived in Hagerstown his whole life, except for the seven years he was stationed in Alaska while on active duty in the Army.

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