Located in the middle of the mitten-shaped state of Michigan, the small town of Saint Louis is home to a cast of stores and characters as warm as that same cold-weather accessory. Among them is Woody’s Music, where St. Louisans learn to “rock’n’roll” and talk about all things music in a vintage setting.
Built in the late 19th century, the Charles Building that hosts Woody’s Music first housed a drug store owned by George Charles. Crowned by a beautiful cornice, the red-bricked structure had many names over the years while holding court on Mill St. After the drug store closed in 1914, the building’s walls were inhabited by a billiard hall, a movie theater, a bakery, a jewelry store, and even a sports gear store until the 1990s.
Enter ‘stage right’ Woody Black, founder of Woody’s Music, who would repurpose the space in 1996 into a haven for all music lovers in Central Michigan. A musician himself, Black’s autographed photos, concert tickets, and unique instruments – like the pipa and erhu – cover the walls of the store.
When he’s not helping customers or playing with his bands, Woody also has an affinity for exotic animals, adopting pets like iguanas, spiders, reptiles–and even describes himself as an alligator wrangler. He rescues many of these pets and finds them homes, even finding a spot at a zoo for an abandoned monitor lizard.
Home to music lessons, a recording studio, and even an instrument that belongs in a Sci-Fi movie, the theremin (which Black can play,) the store is a love letter to music and artists alike. Stop by for a lesson, a story, or maybe even for a greeting from Rosie, Woody’s pet tarantula.