Holiday Shopping 2023: New Canaan Music

[Editor’s Note: This Q&A interview with New Canaan Music owner Phil Williams kicks off our holiday series spotlighting local businesses, running daily through Christmas.]

The holiday shopping has officially arrived on Main and Elm Streets downtown with Black Friday. We dropped into New Canaan Music at 90 Main St. to talk to owner Phil Williams about what holiday deals he and his staff are offering at the popular store. (Williams himself is a New Canaan resident who serves on the Carriage Barn Arts Center board of directors, and has served in the past as a member of the Planning & Zoning Commission and New Canaan Chamber of Commerce board member.) Here’s a transcription of our conversation. New Canaanite: For people who don’t know New Canaan Music, tell them about your store.

New Canaan Music Marks 10 Years Downtown

Ten years ago, New Canaan resident Phil Williams opened up a music shop with nothing but what he calls “hope and a dream.”

Today, New Canaan Music has expanded to two stores and, here in town, has become a hub for music lessons and instruments while Williams has become deeply involved with the community as a business owner. After seeing an opportunity in New Canaan at a time when it had no music store, Williams built a business plan to “give back to the community,” he said. 

New Canaan Music provides customers with music lessons and the option to rent or buy instruments, catering to a variety of music needs and experiences. They have had “known celebrity music people come in as customers as well as the aspiring beginner,” Williams said. 

Whether it’s doing “set up work for a band going on the road that’s been a national act since the 1970’s” or having “a child break a string on a ukulele,” New Canaan Music offers a place for every age of music lover. Starting in 2013 in a smaller shop on Elm Street, New Canaan Music soon outgrew its space and moved to a new location at 90 Main St. “From our first location we had three lesson studios that we had converted into four—here we have eight lesson studios where we do lessons six times a week from Monday through Saturday,” Williams said.

PHOTOS: Sidewalk Sale Draws Crowds to Downtown New Canaan

Scores of bargain-hunters headed to downtown New Canaan on Saturday for the annual Village Fair & Sidewalk Sale. Crowds of shoppers milled about on Elm, Main and Forest Streets on a warm but mercifully unsticky summer day, flipping through racks and rummaging through tables set out on sidewalks and streets by New Canaan and seasonal merchants. 

“We are thrilled,” said Laura Budd, executive director of the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce, which organizes the annual Sidewalk Sale. “We have a terrific mix of vendors and organizations here, and Mother Nature has cooperated 100% with some beautiful breezes. We’re really pleased. It’s just a classic New Canaan event.”

One local family, the Falsettas, counted themselves among those sharing information about nonprofit organizations—in their case, the  Gracie Fund for Pediatric Cancer, which will be the beneficiary of this year’s Oct.

Local Business Q&A: New Canaan Music on Main Street

In today’s installment of our Q&A series spotlighting local businesses, we hear from Phil Williams, a town resident and owner of New Canaan Music. Here’s our exchange. New Canaanite: New Canaan Music has become a fixture of the downtown, a Business Of The Year honoree that offers not only in-store items for sale but also music lessons, in person and remotely. How are you faring, as we enter this our second shopping season since the onset of COVID-19? We are hanging in there and continue to be grateful to the community for thinking of us for all things music.

New Canaan Music Opens Second Store in Newport, R.I.

An established New Canaan business has opened a second location in Rhode Island. New Canaan Music, which sells and rents out instruments and offers music lessons, opened its Newport, R.I. store on Saturday, according to owner and town resident Phil Williams.

“Newport New Canaan Music” is Williams’s first location outside of New Canaan. 

“I think we’ve got a pretty good formula and I wanted to broaden [the company] a little bit,” Williams told 

“I’m feeling really good about it,” he added. Asked why he chose to open a shop there, Williams said, “It’s a great little town.”

“There’s a big music community there and no music store,” he said. New Canaan Music is a membership business of the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce. Williams, a Planning & Zoning Commission member, is a former member of the Chamber’s Board of Directors.