Salem repairmen retire after almost 40 years of service

Glen Schwizer and Tony Fisher opened the Valley Repair Service Shop in 1984. That chapter in their lives concluded on August 27, their last day of service.

 

Shawn Nowlin shawn.nowlin@ourvalley.org

 

The end of 2020 is also bringing the end to an era for a Salem business. After serving the community for over 35 years, Glen Schwizer and Tony Fisher, owners of the Valley Repair Service Shop at 9 Bruffey Street, have decided to call it a career.

A business doesn’t last for almost four decades by coincidence. In large part, their genuine friendship was how they were able to accomplish that feat.

Both Glen and Tom credit their genuine friendship as a reason they’ve been able to serve the community for almost four decades.

Fisher, 77, is a Pennsylvania native, while Schwizer, 66, hails from New York. Both attended the Eastern School of Fretted Musical Instrument in New Jersey in different years. While there, each learned the necessary skills needed to fix every type of woodwind instrument and brass. Both found employment in the Roanoke Valley after graduation but had never met each other prior to relocating to the area. It was former owner of Ridenhour Music in Salem, Jim Ridenhour, who introduced the two who immediately hit it off.

Countless hours over the years were spent fixing thousands of different instruments.

Since 1984, the two friends have provided service to college bands, professional musicians and over a dozen public school systems. “We have seen all kinds of musicians and band directors come and go over the years. Eventually, we began fixing things for grandpa and grandma’s children. Doing their instruments and their children’s instruments and their children’s instruments has been a lot of fun,” Schwizer said.

Dennis Reaser, the former Salem High School Band Director, nicknamed the repair shop Floyd’s Barber Shop, a reference to the popular sitcom “The Andy Griffith Show,” because of the atmosphere where people could “just come in and kick it for a while.”  Many others throughout the community share that same sentiment.

When the pandemic significantly closed down work, Fisher and Schwizer were forced to diminish the shop’s hours. On August 21, they decided to close the shop for good. Several longtime customers stopped by that day to wish them well.

The Valley Repair Service Shop building is not gone for good. Hill City Music Instrument Repair based in Lynchburg and owned by Matthew Yates, 43, is expected to move into the building in the coming weeks.

“The relationships that we have built over the years aren’t something that we take for granted,” Fisher said. “Without the Salem community, we would have had to close our doors a long time ago. We look forward to spending time with our grandchildren, camping and enjoying hobbies that we never really got the chance to do because of our schedules

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