Owner’s Death Forces Closure of Main Squeeze After 19 Years on Essex
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Inside Main Squeeze, 2009
More sad news for the Lower East Side this week. The wind in the proverbial bellows of 19 Essex Street is gone. Main Squeeze is closing down after nearly two decades in business, following the death last week of proprietor Walter Kuehr. The 59-year-old had been battling lymphoma for the last seven years.
Workers were spotted clearing out the store earlier this week. Apparently a fire sale will be held at 19 Essex next weekend on everything but the instruments themselves. Display cases, vinyl, and accordion figurines are all up for grabs. Prices range from 25 cents to $30. Stop by 10am to 6pm Saturday and Sunday.
Main Squeeze first opened on Essex Street in 1996, a time when the area was still dominated by Judaica shops. The music store became a niche magnet for squeeze box professionals and entusiasts, counting Weird Al Yankovic, Sheryl Crow, Emmylou Harris among its myriad visitors. The German-born Kuehr also led a house band – Main Squeeze Orchestra – consisting of eighteen females and a Latin Jazz and lounge act called the Last of the International Playboys.
This store will be sorely missed.