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Local music store honors 50-year legacy
Ponce De Leon Music Center general manager Shawn Rochester hands a customer her purchase on Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018, during a celebration event for the center's 50th anniversary. - photo by Bradley Wiseman

Studio Forsyth: Ponce De Leon Music Center celebrates fifty years

By: Bradley Wiseman

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All around Kitsey Gore Fischer were reminders of the place her family’s music store has had in the community for the last 50 years.

There were local musicians performing, many of whom receive lessons at the Ponce De Leon Music Center. There people walking around the vast store perusing deals on equipment and lessons. There were carnival attractions for kids.

“It was bittersweet I have to say,” Fischer said.

Fischer’s dad, Max, opened the store in 1968 in Decatur on Ponce De Leon Avenue – hence the name. He moved the store to its current location on Dahlonega Highway in 1991.

Max Fischer opened the Ponce De Leon Music Center in Decatur in 1968. A picture of Fischer and other early photos of the music store were displayed Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018, at a celebration event for the center's 50th anniversary. - photo by Bradley Wiseman

When Max retired in 1997, he kept the store in family hands, passing it on to Kitsey along with her three then-young sons. They preserved the Ponce De Leon community Max had worked to build. Indeed, several customers from the original Decatur location would continue to shop at the store despite the long trip.

But last year, in July, Kitsey and her sons sold the store to Derek and Kathy Hines.

Still, Kitsey and her sons put it in the hands of owners who understand the family tradition. The Hines’ son, Shawn Rochester, worked at the store for Kitsey.

Rochester is the general manager, and he’s ready to continue the Ponce De Leon tradition.

“It’s very rare that you see many places like this last 50 years,” Rochester said. “We’re just proud to be able to take part in it.”