Violin Shop To Host Grand Opening Next Month

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Joel Lensch, owner of Fiddle and Bow on East State Street in Athens, is seen in front of his selection of violins. The violin and hat shop will hold its grand opening on Dec. 5. (Photo: John Halley/Athens Messenger)

One Athens retailer has a new pitch — that of the violin.

The Fiddle and Bow, located at 77-1/2 E. State Street (next to the Standard Salon), will host its grand opening on Dec. 5.

Joel Lensch said he and his wife moved to Athens two years ago from Indiana after she got a job at Ohio University. He said he’s been making violins for the past five years and decided to see if Athens could support a violin shop.

However, violins aren’t the only merchandise the shop has for sale. It also offers eclectic hats — such as fedoras and cabbie hats — made in the United States, bowties and other miscellaneous items. Lensch said offering other items besides violins has proven to be a good move. He said hats seem to be his biggest seller.

Lensch hopes to build upon his hat inventory, including hats for women. He said he aims to only sell products crafted in the United States. The shop also sells bow ties that he made himself.

Lensch said there isn’t a huge population of violin players in Athens, which he attributes to the lack of orchestral programs in local high schools. He himself plays “old time” music, which he compared to Appalachian music in the Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky region.

“It pre-dates bluegrass,” he said.

According to Lensch, crafting violins is a long and tedious process. He said he’s only made five over the past few years. While he has sold most of the instruments he’s made, The Fiddle and the Bow sells violins made by others, including beginner’s instruments. He said prices start at around $200. Lensch also offers basic violin and fiddle repairs.

The Fiddle and Bow’s current hours are 1-5 p.m. on weekdays and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. Lensch said he hopes to offer expanded evening hours during the holiday shopping season.

For information, visit the Fiddle and Bow Facebook page, email fidandbow@gmail.com or call 707-4211.

photo: Fiddle and Bow