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New guitar store has groovy past, adds to Utica's resurgence

By ANNA MEILER

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) -- Some consider Bob Acquaviva a local legend.

"I've been a musician here in town forever, I guess for 40 years," said Acquaviva, manager of Utica Classic Guitars, 51 Franklin Square.

But, his experience has taken him far and wide.

"Toured on various tours with Megadeath, Suicidal Tendencies, Rage Against the Machine as a tech," he said.

And he's fostered talent here at home, opening a recording studio in Downtown Utica in 1988 that helped stars like Michael Bolton, Blue Oyster Cult and the band Boston make music.

"They're just regular people, the bigger they were, the better they were, actually the nicer they were," he said.

He closed up shop in 1999 but now he's back in the same building with a new venture: guitars.

"It's more of a mom and pops shop, let's put it that way. We're not going to have stuff like Guitar Center or other stores like that. We're kind of more for the players and people out there actually gigging," he said.

This place has a lot of history, but now they're marching to a new tune and excited to be part of the renaissance of Downtown Utica.

"The first time I came down here right around 1990 they tried to make a come back. They did new facades and it was really picking up down here and then it kind of lost steam and now it's starting all over again," said Acquaviva.

Utica Classic Guitars has only been open for two weeks, but business is already bustling and Acquaviva sees it as a city-wide trend.

"I see it all the time. People are coming in asking us how the rent is and how the walk-in traffic is and I talk to other patrons around here and they say it's going really good. I think it's going to work," he said.

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