As you walk along Yukon’s Main Street, the building is easy to miss.
Set back into a bank of buildings between Fourth and Fifth Streets is CBR Music, a once thriving store that continues to help musicians make music despite recent downturns in the economy.
The store once was the home of Gibson, Fender and other major brands of musical instruments. But owner Dale Klopenstein can no longer carry those brands. They are being sold by major retailers, making it hard for small, independent shops like his to survive.
But he survives.
“I’ve been here since 1988,” Klopenstein said.
He doesn’t plan to go anywhere, either.
Klopenstein said he has a passion for music and wants to see it continue to spread.
“I’ve been playing guitar since I was 11,” he said.
Klopenstein spent much of his early adult life on the road, playing for fans. He’s played with some big names, Roy Clark and Conway Twitty, to name a few.
Music has always been a part of his life. He worked for several years with Driver Music in Bethany, then took a job in the oil fields before the bust of the 1980s sent him looking for other work.
He found it doing odd jobs until the opportunity to open his own store fell into place in 1988.
That’s when CBR became a reality.
Yukon accepted him and the business thrived with top name equipment selling well and want-to-be musicians looking for lessons.
There were boon years, he said. But then the economy tanked in 2008, and his business hit a rough patch.
“We did take a hit when we couldn’t get the major brands anymore,” he said.
He has found his niche today with equipment that isn’t as well known, but still plays well.
He carries a wide range of guitars, basses and keyboards. He also stocks amplifiers and a large collection of sheet music.
“I don’t have the stock that I used to have,” he said, pointing out that he can order what is needed.
He also works with the local schools, helping provide music, reeds and other equipment that students might need.
“This is my livelihood,” he said. “It’s what I’ve been doing all my life.”
Kolpenstein said music remains a passion.
“I still love it. I love all the freedom about it. You meet a lot of people, and I’ve never met a guitar I didn’t like. I just love it. It is a passion,” he said.
And he still plays. Kolpenstein said he picks up a guitar and plays every day.
“You can’t have a bad day when you are playing the guitar,” he said.
The 75-year-old said he has no plans to give it up, either.
“I will keep staying here until I decide I want to do something else,” he said.
The store is open Monday through Saturday from 1:30 p.m. until 5:30 p.m., he said.