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Paul Ash, at 84; grew family’s music store into chain

The are 46 Sam Ash stores in the United States. Above, an Ash store in New York.
The are 46 Sam Ash stores in the United States. Above, an Ash store in New York.Credit: Nicole Bengiveno/New York Times/file 2005

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NEW YORK — Sam Ash preferred playing the violin to being an entrepreneur, and he said no when his sons, Jerome and Paul, asked him to expand beyond his single musical instrument store in Brooklyn, N.Y. But five years after Sam died in 1956, the sons opened the family’s first branch store, in Hempstead, N.Y. It was just the beginning.

Today, 46 Sam Ash music stores are scattered across the United States, selling instruments, recording equipment, sound and lighting gear, guitar picks and much more. The biggest is the 30,000-square-foot superstore the company opened last year on West 34th Street in Manhattan to replace its cluttered patchwork of stores on West 48th Street.

Paul Ash, who died of a heart attack Feb. 4 in Syosset, N.Y., at 84, collaborated with his brother, who is four years older, to make Sam Ash Music the nation’s largest family-owned chain of musical instrument stores.

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