On February 28, 2004 there was a devastating fire in The Davis Mercantile in Shipshewana, Indiana - my hometown.
Housed in part of this building was a music store called Simple Sounds. In the late 80's I only played the harmonica for a hobby, but stopping into this store started me on the path I'm now on.
On display in this store was a Meisterklasse diatonic. It went home with me that day, and that started a friendship between myself and the owners. I started working for them part-time, and, through them being primarily a dulcimer shop, I went to a dulcimer festival that I was told might have some harmonica related stuff.
At the festival I attended a workshop given by Pete Hastings, harmonica player for the band No Strings Attached. Some of you might know Pete from one of Howard Levy's classes that I believe happened at Augusta. Anyway, there were a couple of people in that workshop who mentioned an organization called SPAH, and were kind enough to mail me information about the next convention. That was in 1990, and it was the convention where I first met Dick Gardner and John Infande who showed me the reality of harmonica repair. See the long path that Simple Sounds played such a key part in with that MeisterKlasse harmonica on display?
They are in the process of relocating, but their website is still active at www.simplesounds.com giving updates about the store. There are plans to rebuild the Mercantile, and all nine businesses that were put out by the fire have said they will again have their shops there.
Simple Sounds has (had) a store front to maintain, so their prices for harmonicas can't be as low as mail-order only businesses. But if you are ever in Northern Indiana and you stop in to see the rebuilt store, you will probably see more harmonica books in one location than anywhere else outside of possibly a convention.
Thanks for your time to read all this. I just wanted to let people know about a small store that does a lot to promote the harmonica.