Organizers of a benefit concert hope a deluge of donations is on its way after a malfunctioning sprinkler system wreaked havoc inside a Liberty Township business.
The Lazy Chameleon, 4028 Presidential Parkway, Powell, will play host to the Music Royale Recovery Benefit Concert from 6 to 10 p.m. Sunday, April 9. All donations collected during the free show, which features a mix of acoustic, jazz and rock acts, will benefit the 15-year-old music store.
Jesse McNamara, Music Royale's owner, said just before closing time March 3, oily water began surging from a sprinkler head in the store. Firefighters were able to shut the system off after about 30 minutes. By then, a few inches of water covered the store's sales floor and destroyed much of the store's stock of instruments and sheet music.
"We lost 80 percent of our inventory and all of our computers and phone systems," McNamara said.
McNamara said most of Music Royale's 25 music-lesson rooms reopened shortly after the incident, but repairs to the shuttered retail area are ongoing.
Almost a month after the incident, he said he's still not sure how much of the roughly $60,000 in damage will be covered by insurance.
McNamara, a Clintonville resident, said he decided to open his own music shop in the early 2000s after the store where he was teaching guitar closed. He said he saw the growing southern Delaware County as the perfect place to launch a business that reminded him of the community-based music stores of his youth.
"The idea was to have a place owned by musicians, run by musicians for musicians," he said.
The store, which sits in the Giant Eagle plaza near the intersection of Powell Road and Sawmill Parkway, has five employees and a roster of 40 local musicians who teach lessons.
Lisa Cave, one of the benefit concert's organizers, said she was in "total shock" after seeing the amount of destruction inflicted on Music Royale's sales floor.
"I think a lot of people don't realize how much damage it did," she said.
Cave, whose husband teaches piano at the store and plays in a band called the Moonbats with McNamara, said the incident spurred her to get to work on a fundraiser.
"Really, what made the most sense was to try to organize a concert," she said. "We've got a lot of great talent up at the store."
Cave, who has worked as a booking agent, event producer and manager for two decades, said Music Royale has earned a special place in the central Ohio music scene.
"I'm not familiar with another studio that has quite the same reputation for authenticity," she said.
McNamara, who will play with the Moonbats at the benefit show, said he wants to secure the store's future, in part to make sure local musicians still have a place to pass their skills along to the next generation of artists.
"(We have) probably the best roster of teachers anywhere," he said.
Cave said the number of friends the store has made over the years has been evident in planning for the concert.
"We've had a huge, overwhelming response from the Music Royale family, students and neighbors," she said.
Cave said many neighboring businesses have donated items for a silent auction to be held during the concert.
McNamara said he hopes the concert helps reduce the losses the business has seen in the past month, but it won't make or break his decision to keep the store open.
"I'm stubborn enough to make it work one way or another," he said.