Sartell couple opens music shop in St. Joseph

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by Dennis Dalman

A music shop known as Barrett’s Music had its grand opening Nov. 9 in the building that housed for seven years a previous music shop, Riff City Guitar, at 708 Elm St. E. in St. Joseph.

Barrett’s Music is owned by Sartell residents Micah and Jeanine Barrett. Long-time music enthusiasts, music teachers and musical performers, the Barretts are part of the greater St. Cloud area music network, and both of them know Joe Leach, owner of Riff City Guitar. When Leach told the Barretts he intended to pursue another career direction, they eventually came to the conclusion they could set up shop in the very place at 708 Elm St. Leach was happy another music shop would be opening on that site. And Leach helped the Barretts get their new business up and running.

The Barretts will carry guitars, drums, keyboards – the works. But they will also sell sheet music, and their emphasis will be focused on a family-friendly place that caters not just to professional players but to virtual newcomers who, feeling a bit hesitant, can pop into the shop without feeling intimidated by the presence of “pros” who may be there too. The Barretts have an agreement in place with an existing music school for a lessons program that will allow total musical-instrument beginners to learn to play, lesson by lesson, with burgeoning confidence. With that goal in mind, there are four lesson rooms at the shop.

Barrett’s Music will also offer a service department.

The shop’s general manager is Al Stumpf, who also managed Riff City Guitar.

“Our objective is to serve not only local pros and teachers, but to give significant attention to beginners and their families and create a comfortable and affordable experience for them,” Stumpf said “We are strictly locally focused. No e-commerce.”

A financial advisor for a firm in St. Cloud, Micah Barrett’s musical roots run very deep. His late grandfather, Roger Barrett, was a bedrock musical legend in the St. Cloud area – as performer, teacher and chair of the music department at St. Cloud State University. Micah’s father, Gary (son of Roger) has been a local piano technician for more than 30 years.

Micah earned a degree in jazz performance (bass and oboe primarily), as well as one in piano technology, at SCSU. He is a former member and officer for the St. Cloud Symphony Orchestra and worked at Al’s Music in St. Cloud for six years, with shorter stints at Schmitt Music and Music-Go-Round. He currently plays bass guitar and sings with Justin Ploof and the Throwbacks as well as Mason Dixon Line.

Jeanine Barrett earned a degree in piano performance from Concordia College, Moorhead, and has been teaching piano for 18 years. She currently owns a teaching studio. Jeanine is a former president of the Great River Music Club and created and operates a local online teacher directory – She frequently performs with the St. Cloud Symphony and various local chamber-music groups.

High-school sweethearts, Micah and Jeanine graduated from St. Cloud Tech in 2002 and have been married for 13 years. They have two children – Roger, 7; and Nora, 4, who both attend Sartell schools.

Micah said his mission statement is this:

“We are a family owned full-service music store, literally putting the mom and pop back into the ‘mom and pop.’ We believe music, and more specifically learning to play music, should be as affordable and accessible as possible. We live in an age in which people are becoming more and more accustomed to getting things in a near-instant and learning to play an instrument proficiently is, well, slow and difficult, making it one of life’s remaining great challenges.”

Barrett’s Music is open from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday; and from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. It is closed on Sunday.

To learn more about Barrett’s Music, visit its website at

Author: Janelle Von Pinnon

Von Pinnon has been publishing the St. Joseph Newsleader since 1989, the Sartell-St. Stephen Newsleader since 1995 and the Sauk Rapids-Rice Newsleader since 2015. She graduated from Minnesota State University-Moorhead with degrees in mass communications (with an emphasis on print journalism) and biology. She lives in southeast St. Cloud with her husband and two children.

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