Like so many Bayonne residents, brothers Mike and Anthony Fumentohave fond memories of buying their first instruments and learning to play music at Piero’s Music as kids. Now, they own and operate the store on 45th Street and Broadway, which closed in 2016 when longtime owner Lou Fanacone retired and moved to Florida.
Piero’s Music originally opened in 1952. In 1970, Fanacone took over and ran the shop until he sold it in 2016 to a buyer who then sold it to Fumento in early 2018.
Mike Fumento, who has taught music for years at Woodrow Wilson Community School and in Jersey City and performed in various bands throughout the region, has a cousin who worked with Lisa Faracone, who is married to Lou. So he found out the store was available.
“We always talked about opening a business, maybe in the food industry. But that wasn’t me. This is me,” said Mike. “People want this, and I want to bring music back to Bayonne and give youth here that outlet.”
“Piero’s is part of Bayonne’s memory. It’s always been the place to go to buy instruments and learn how to play. After it closed, a lot of people didn’t like going out of town for strings, reeds, and instruments,” said Anthony, who played in wedding bands in his youth and inspired younger brother Mike to pick up the drums. “This puts quality music back in the community.”
“When we were growing up in the ’80s, there were bands playing on every block. You couldn’t go down a street without hearing someone practicing in their garage,” said Mike, who later went on to study jazz at the University of Miami. “Life was all about seeing shows and who’s playing where. Bayonne needs some of that back.”
“Piero’s is part of Bayonne’s memory. It’s always been the place to go to buy instruments and learn how to play.” – Mike Fumento
The store is newly renovated, thanks in part to Anthony Fumento, who is an electrical contractor by trade and owns Advanced Electrical Systems on Broadway, as well as some friends who they played in bands with at Bayonne High School in the 1980s.
They repainted the inside of the store a light blue instead of the former lime green color. They made the area more spacious, installed new lighting, replaced the carpets with laminate floors, and addednarrow wood slabs to the walls, givingthe space a much more modern and functional look. They even converted storage space in the upstairs floor into practice rooms, bringing the number of rooms from three to five.
“This store has a mom-and-pop shop nostalgia. People want to come in and feel like they’re not just a number like they do in a box store,” said Anthony Fumento Jr., who works as the sales and operations manager. “This is just more personal.”
Expectedly, the store is full of performers and instructors. Roger Cardillo, who teaches music at Washington Community School, performs rock n’ roll in New York and also teaches at Piero’s.
“You have to have fun with music and listen to and absorb as much as possible,” said Cardillo. “It comes down to drive. I can’t teach drive. You need that desire to keep improving. That’s the great thing about music. You’re never on top of your game. It’s a lifelong process.”
Phyllis Zuckerman has been teaching piano at Piero’s for decades and she calls it a “home away from home.”
“There aren’t enough activities for the youth here in Bayonne, but this brings culture to the city,” said Zuckerman. “It helps kids be the best the can possibly be and it’s important they become interested in activities that steer them in the right direction, like music.”
Rory Pasquariello can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.