BRATTLEBORO -- About five-and-a-half years ago, Christian Glines was living in New York City and feeling like he needed a change.
The New Hampshire native was making a pretty good living as a musician but the pace and noise and cost of living in Manhattan was beginning to wear on him so he traveled to New England to look for a sign.
He wasn't sure where he wanted to live, and he wasn't sure what kind of town he'd end up in, so he pointed his car north and eventually ended up in Brattleboro.
He liked the town, and what he knew about the thriving arts scene, so when he saw a "help wanted" sign in Maple Leaf Music on Elliot Street he impulsively walked in, introduced himself to store owner Kate Spencer and applied for a job.
A few weeks ago Glines purchased Maple Leaf Music from Kate Spencer who has owned it for 33 years and helped establish the store as one of the premier acoustic music shops in New England.
"I was looking for a change," Glines said about his initial trip to Brattleboro. "But I admit, I had no idea this is where it would lead."
Even before he got to Brattleboro, Glines was a fan of vintage acoustic instruments and owned a healthy collection of guitars, banjos, resophonic guitars and ukuleles.
He settled into Vermont, started his own band and enjoyed selling instruments at Maple Leaf, but even three or four years into it he had no intention of buying the store.
About a year ago Glines noticed
She had run the shop for more than three decades and was ready for a change.
Glines asked her about her plans and she admitted that she was contemplating retirement.
Just like when he impulsively applied for the job, Glines asked Spencer if she would consider selling the business to him.
They negotiated a deal. Glines got his financing in order, and earlier this month he took ownership of Maple Leaf Music.
Even though online shopping at mega-music stores and Craig's List has taken a big bite out of small independent music dealers, Glines knew from working at Maple Leaf that it had a strong reputation and steady clientele.
Spencer helped develop the business as one of the premier dealers of high end, boutique, hand built instruments and Maple Leaf routinely sends out $4,000 guitars to Nashville, Los Angeles and Europe.
Glines has every intention of maintaining that clientele but he also wants to make some changes at Maple Leaf.
Spencer had phased out electric instruments but Glines has already built back up an inventory of electric guitars, amplifiers and effects.
Gretsch and Eastwood guitars, Ampeg amplifiers and Boss pedals take their place next to the acoustic instruments that have been Maple Leaf's trademark for so long.
Glines loves old time music and admires acoustic instruments, but at the same time he wants to give electric instruments their due.
He also wants to broaden the customer base by having less expensive electric and acoustic instruments for the first time buyer.
Even though his decision to move to Brattleboro, and then to purchase Maple Leaf Music all happened relatively quickly, Glines says he thought long and hard about it and only moved ahead because there is something special about the town.
If you look at the town, he said, there are young business owners up and down Main Street who are making an investment in the area
And while he is going to continue packaging up expensive instruments for shipping, his passion remains meeting a young boy or girl who is coming in to buy their first instrument, and making sure they walk out with something that is going to open a whole new world that leads to a lifetime of making music.
"Every few years Brattleboro reinvents itself and it feels like that is going on right now," he said. "There are young folks starting businesses and making this a destination town; a place that people want to stop in and see when they are traveling through. It feels great to be a part of that."
Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 802-254-2311 ext. 279. Follow Howard on Twitter @HowardReformer.