The Junction At Monroe (‘J@M’ for short) is Tallahassee's only true listening room - and the best sounding room for miles around! It was opened late 2014 by Russ and Josie Pangratz, a local couple with a heart for community, music, and area artists. It is also home to the Tallahassee Area Musicians Guild (TAMG).
J@M, set in a charming 1936 warehouse with 80 year old wood flooring, thick brick walls and original sliding metal fire doors, features a number of small shops filled with art, eclectic collectibles and vintage items all for sale. The shops are adjacent to a concession area with a 28 foot bar top displaying CD covers, autographs, and all sorts of swag from great area musicians and artists. While all of this is very inviting, the masterpiece behind J@M is Fleming Hall, a Bohemian-styled performing arts/music hall equipped with high end sound and lighting equipment including a full instrument backline. The 30 foot stage is perfect for artists to perform in an intimate setting with minimal setup and minimal distractions. Patrons may shop and enjoy refreshments close enough to hear everything, yet without disturbing the performers or audience in the hall.
Russ and Josie have lived in Tallahassee for more than 20 years. They met through mutual friends in 2008, and married in 2010. Russ has owned and operated a web development company since 1998, and a sound and lighting company since 2010. Josie is a graduate of FSU and was employed in the corporate world for many years by several Fortune 500 companies. Russ and Josie have often given to local charities and actively volunteered when they had the time. In 2013, they both agreed that they wanted to find a way to become even more involved in their community. On faith, Josie retired from the corporate world and the steady income that came with it. They decided to open a thrift store on South Monroe Street while Russ continued working with his two other businesses. Josie operated the thrift store for over a year, typically working 10 hours a day, 6-7 days a week. It was during this time that Josie and Russ began to realize just how much they cared about this unique area of Tallahassee. They started directing much of their collective focus to the south side by giving clothing, household items and a percentage of the thrift store's sales to area families in need, and relocating their sound and lighting business to a warehouse on South Monroe Street, as well.
Russ has loved playing guitar since he was 12, performing with various bands through the years. The new sound and lighting warehouse also provided rehearsal space for his current band, Tightner. Russ immediately took notice of the amazing acoustics in the room and began to envision a place where others could experience the magic of what would eventually become ‘Fleming Hall’ in The Junction at Monroe.
In late 2014, Russ teamed up with several other local musicians and formed The Tallahassee Area Musicians Guild, Inc. (TAMG), a 501c3 non-profit organization with a focus on supporting local musicians and songwriters, and providing scholarships, education, mentoring, lessons, and performance opportunities to underprivileged youth with artistic souls. Things seemed to be melding together so Russ and Josie decided to combine the vintage and upper end items of the thrift store with the concept of a listening room, art gallery, and resource hub for local musicians. The Junction At Monroe, Inc. was formed January, 2015, and became home to TAMG.
Within the first few months of J@M being open, TAMG members participated in hundreds or hours of rehearsal, photography, and videography time on the J@M premises as part of the perks of being a guild member. As of January 2016, the J@M stage has hosted over 500 individual performing artists, ages ranging from early teens to mid-eighties, as well as several charitable fundraisers. It was also within the first couple of months of J@M being open that Josie was in an automobile accident that totaled her vehicle and left her physically unable to continue operating the thrift store, which they closed in May.
If you have experienced J@M, you understand its importance as a cultural performance hub for our community. If you have not had the opportunity to experience J@M, please ask someone who has to share their experience with you, or come see for yourself. Thank you for supporting local business and local artists!!!