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Issue Date: Downtown Digs 2007


Rock and Roll City


Myra Orenstein
When trumpet player Michael Rubin graduated from Ohio University with a music performance degree, owning a music store was the last thing on his mind. Returning to Cleveland, he needed a day job and began working at Jack and Ethel Epstein’s store, Prospect Music.

In 1982, he purchased the store. Developers entered into the picture, causing him to relocate twice. Today, ironically, Prospect Music is on Huron Road in the Caxton Building.

Over the years, Rubin has seen a changing clientele. His has been the music store of choice for low-income and working-poor folks and has attracted recognized musicians like Stevie Ray Vaughn, Joe Walsh, the Kinks, and Earth, Wind and Fire. And there were the sidemen, the backup musicians for Madonna and others who stopped in to shop. “When traveling bands came through Cleveland, all of them would come by and pick up oils and strings,” he says. “Musicians are always on the lookout for the unusual.” Rubin’s love of music plays on.

Fans can hear him perform with the Suburban Symphony in Beachwood or the ever-popular Blue Lunch. As for Prospect Music? It’s still a destination store, according to Rubin, attracting people from both sides of Cleveland as well as performers and tourists from all over.

Also located on Huron Road is Jerold Optical, owned and run by Rubin’s wife, Lisa. The store, which Lisa took over from her 83-year-old father, Jerold Rabnick, just celebrated its 61st anniversary. “It’s so cool because we get to see second and third generations of families come through,” she says. And Lisa has a passion for eyewear. “Every day when I wake up, I start with the frames. I have 12 different colors of frames,” she says. “Then I choose my outfit.”


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