The new Saugerties music store is a success

Alex Kellner and his fiancée, Patti Molloy, sit among the many guitars blocking the Kingtone Music Store. (photo by Robert Ford)

The story of the new Saugerties Village Music Store sounds like the lyrics to a Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner song. A boy meets a girl, they fall in love, the girl moves away, so does the boy, the boy meets a girl again, they fall in love, they get engaged and they open a music store.

The only difference with the story of Alex Kellner and Patti Molloy is that the love story began about 40 years ago, and only resumed two years ago.

Kellner, who recently opened the Kingtone Music Store at 282 Main Street, and his fiancée, Molloy, were high school sweethearts in Freeport, Long Island. During the summer, Molloy’s parents and their daughter traveled to their second home in Saugerties. They loved Alex so much that they took him with them.

Shortly after graduation, the Molloys decided that Saugerties, with its lack of traffic and less hectic life, was the place to be. They moved here.

Alex, meanwhile, opted for warmer climates and moved to Tampa to attend college. While in Tampa, his brother Larry, a guitarist, opened a music store. Alex, who played drums, came on board to help run the place.

The brothers have been successful in their business, selling drums, amps, guitars and all the gear that goes with them. After more than 30 years in business, they have decided to retire. Through Facebook, a friend of Alex re-introduced him to Patti.

“I wasn’t really happy in retirement,” says Alex. “And when I came to see Patti and found out they didn’t have a music store, I decided to give it a shot.”

The couple had a van, because there’s always one in a country western song, although the two grew up going to rock and roll concerts on the island and the Schafer Music Fest in Central Park. Their RV traveled the country to buy used drum kits, guitars and amps for their planned store.

“We were like that TV show American Pickers“, said Alex.

Supplied with drum kits and dozens of guitars, the couple opened Kingtone Music. The term, according to Alex, comes from that perfect tone that all guitarists and drummers are looking for.

Armed with a long list of musical instrument sellers that Alex had acquired while in business in Tampa, the couple were finally ready to settle in Saugerties and open their store. The 800 square foot space is filled with guitars on racks. A number of drum kits hang on the walls. A host of amps are packed together, ready for customers. Just about anyone to come in and start playing.

“If they need someone to do a backbeat, I sit on drums,” says Alex. “Our philosophy is to provide a good instrument at a fair price.”
Kellner also makes trades and does all of his guitar and drum repairs himself. He is a certified dealer for Alvarez and D’Angelca guitars. It also stocks a number of Fender Strats, some nice C&L guitars, a Gibson or two, and a host of drum kits.

Most guitars sell for between $200 and $400, with some selling for thousands of dollars. “Something for everyone,” he says.

Business has been so good that “in the first quarter, we did more than three times what I expected to do for the full year”. Not only was the shop a success, but some of the area’s most well-known professional musicians, such as Jack Dejohnette, Murali Coryell and Chris Difford of Squeeze, also found the store.

Marriage is what the future holds for Kellner and Molloy. They’re also hoping for a bigger space in Saugerties for Kingtone Music, perhaps, Kellner says, “two stores next to each other, one for guitars and one for drums.”

Alice P. Darby