photo-by-George-Aslaender-2A rarity among his contemporaries, Steven Uhrik, Owner of Retrofret Vintage Guitars (Brooklyn NY), grew his business out of a love for the technology behind musical instruments and a fascination with how the instruments work. Uhrik was working as a tech and luthier when, in 1983, he acquired a loft building in Brooklyn that formerly housed the first dedicated ASPCA animal shelter. He opened a 600-square-foot repair shop with just a couple of assistants; the business, slowly but surely, started to take off in unexpected ways.

Retrofret Vintage Guitars
233 Butler St. Brooklyn, NY 11217
(718) 237-2532
Mon-Fri 12pm-7pm
Sat 12pm-6pm
Steven Uhrik, Owner

“Clients would come in and ask me to help sell their old instruments that they had locked in the safe, and sometimes I would buy a piece to refurbish and resell,” Uhrik recalled. “By the 1990s, I was acquiring instruments to repair, and I started displaying some of them.”

Realizing that he had a great eye and ear for instruments, Uhrik continued acquiring vintage and one-of-a-kind instruments to restring and repair for resale. Retrofret established a Web presence in the Internet’s early days, cultivating a fan base that was not only local, but also national and international. The store began to earn a strong reputation for integrity and for being detail-oriented, as Retrofret’s tech team would go especially deep into their repairs. The repair shop currently has three techs, as well as three part-time specialists who focus on the minutia of instrument repairs. “For example, I have one guy who just does plastic restoration,” said Uhrik. “Also, our senior tech is a woman, which is a bit unusual for this business.”

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