Joe graduated from the North Bennet Street School in Boston, where he studied violin making and restoration under Ray Melanson. Upon moving to New York he began working as a repair person, first at New York Violin Shop, and later at Steve McGhee's shop. In 1994 he established his own shop on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Two moves followed, first to Morningside Heights and then to Inwood.
Joe grew up playing the cello and after obtaining a degree in geology from Lehigh University took his cello to be repaired and was inspired to change direction and become a violinmaker himself. Joe's shop was the subject of a lovely 2001 story in the New York Times.
Why do we have a greyhound logo? When Joe first opened his own shop our dog Shiloh went to work with him, and she was followed in turn by Mackey and Ginger. We're looking forward to the day when we will have another shop hound.
Nancy Phillips has been managing the office end of the shop for about ten years. Immediately prior to joining her husband in the business she had been working as a librarian at Columbia University and for many years before that she worked in the music business, having held management positions with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and later the New York Philharmonic.
When she's not in the shop she's working as a dresser at the Metropolitan Opera.
A Few Words on Doing Business Locally
One of the things that we enjoy most about living in New York City is the number of unique, locally owned businesses that have survived into this era of big box stores and anonymous mail order. Whenever we can, we try to shop locally. But we're busy people, too, and so we know that it's not always possible to do that. That's why we truly appreciate our customers' willingness to work with our appointment-only hours and our lack of a shipping department! What they get in return is a personal relationship with a violinmaker who stands behind his products and is here in town, ready to help when a problem arises.