64 Oxford Street
Four floors of gear, always on "sale". Jim was ever present, casting his business eye over potential customers.
I think Jim saw us all as potential customers!
I had not played in a band in the Manchester area for over 10 years but finally my Kent based band started to work further north - gigging in Manchester one weekend.
I was eager to show this band of "southerners" what a real music shop was like and we ended up in Reno's.
Jim must have been really getting on by then - but he still managed to sell us gear we hadn't come into the shop to buy". Nothing had changed!
Also fond memories of an "incident" some years prior to this. We were playing at St Bernadettes and someone said "Jim Reno is here". We thought it odd but after the second spot Jim came up and said how much he nejoyed the group, adding it was a pity he had to repossess the Vox Continental. At least he waited till the end of the night.
Paul Mlynarz (webmaster)
Life 'n' Soul (Kent)
I heard a story about Jim Reno. In his later years he had a bad heart attack from which he recovered and sold one of two Stradivarius violins he owned and gave the money to Withington Hospital.
Jim Reno was a very 'down to earth' bloke. I remember speaking to Jack Howarth (deceased) of Harker & Howarths in Bolton about a trade presentation that he and Jim had attended.
It was a demonstration of the latest keyboard from Yamaha or Korg, anyway the product was being put through its paces with all the spiel by some sales dummy from London, took ages to get through all its facilities and potential and finally it came to the part where the presenter asked if there were any questions from the floor on this latest wonderful answer to the keyboard player's dreams......first up was Jim who said......'I'm very impressed with your machine son but tell me.....can I sell the bloody thing?'
Remember a drummer coming in and asking for sticks with his name on. I asked "Who are you" and Denis Greenwood was nudging me telling me it was Buddy Rich.
Also sold Carl Wilson of the Beach Boys a fuzz box before a show at the Odeon.
Went on a couple of gigs with The Barron Knights to "look after" a Triumph 100 watt PA amp they hired after theirs had broke down.
I also worked at Reno's. We sold loads of gear - from Fender, Marshall amps, Vox organs, Gibson guitars, Les Pauls, to violins and drums.
I worked hard, carrying all that Marshall and Vox stuff up 4 floors.
I was promised commision when I sold the gear. I did about 1200 quids worth and never got any commission - but that's what happened in the 60s.
I made loads of cuppas of tea for me and Jim Reno and staff. I should now be well off but it was the 60s.
Although I was a keyboard player, we uesd to call in all the music shops. I particularly remember the Burns guitar with tarnished gold pickups they always tried to sell any beginners, and the immortal phrase 'Bring your father down on Saturday and he can sign the agggggggreement'.
I played with a local Wythenshawe group, 'The Cannonballs' and we had a fine lead guitarist called Vinnie Barber. The best group in the area was 'The Skyliners' and Vinny and I went up to see Mike McConnell in his flat above a shop on Minsterley Parade.
He had just bought a white Strat. In those days it look months of waiting for an order to arrive from America and Mike didn't want to wait.
However, Jim Reno did a deal with Mike so the money was paid and Jim took him to Manchester Docks in Salford.
The guitar was handed over by someone on the ship and Jim took Mike home with his new guitar.
I don't believe that this was a one-off!
My father bought my first Conn Cavalier tenor sax from Jim in 1936, followed by my clarinet, then Selmer alto in 1937. My clarinet tutor was Chick Purcell, who ran a Sunday orchestral group of up to 40 musician, and I, with my brother Edwin, who played trumpet with Bill Cotton, attended regularly.
I survived the war as a pilot, went to live and raise a family in Rhodesia, now live in Australia, still have my alto and clarinet, and have played regularly throughout my 88 years.
I worked for Jim Reno around the 1970s. When anyone came for a job he would ask "what do you do?" When you said "I'm a musician," Jim would say "so you're unemployed then ... wages £21.00 plus commission ... never earned any!
I was always in debt ... but learned how to brew, and polish instruments; the boiler would now be a health hazard.
I used to do some gardening at Jim's house in Sale. He had an underhouse garage, with the original Morris van still sign written with Renos.
Also some of the remnants of the "Reno" drum factory.
The silver cloud was down there too - complete wreck! I recall that he once or twice had the silver lady stolen off the roller, he just shoved an old rag in there. Very eccentric was Jim.
PS An after thought!!! Renos had the longest retirement sale of all time. Anyone remember just how long?