Our long story, short...
The beginning... 1922
Founder, Carlo Petosa, passionately began crafting accordions by hand, one at a time; a practice that continues to this very day. He was unaware that he was giving birth to a legacy that would pass down to his son, grandson and now great grandson; who would continue to carry on the same tradition spanning a century of accordion manufacturing.
Carlo Petosa - from Italy to America
As a child in Italy, Carlo loved the accordion. He recalls, ‘I was crazy about accordions, and I was determined to have one but my father always said they cost too much. We argued frequently about this until finally with the first money I earned, I bought one’. At the age of 16, Carlo emigrated from Italy to the United States. During his young adult years, Carlo traveled from the East Coast to the West Coast performing on Vaudeville’s Pantages Circuit as an accordionist. Ending up in San Francisco, he became more interested in the workings of his instrument than playing. There, Carlo served an apprenticeship at the Guerrini Accordion Factory. Before planting his roots, Carlo wanted to visit the Pacific Northwest. Upon his arrival he decided to stay, marry and raise a family. The rest is history..
The Original - Linden Ave
In the basement of his home in Seattle, he single-handedly devoted himself to the task of constructing his instrument. In these humble surroundings, hunched over his workbench, Carlo was completely absorbed in his work and totally oblivious to anything else. Here, he meticulously and painstakingly measured, hand-cut, shaped, and honed pieces of wood and metal which were transformed by hand over several months into beautiful one-of-a-kind accordions. Carlo ran a one-man operation with no assistance, only himself – just how many accordions he built in this way will never be known. We do know, however, that many of these accordions are still intact today and available to be seen at Petosa Accordions headquarters, part of a collection on display of dozens of early 19th, 20th, and 21st century accordions.
New Generation - Joe Petosa Sr.
When he was old enough to work, Carlo Petosa’s son, Joe, began learning his father's trade. Joe began playing the accordion at age 10 under the tutelage of Joe Parente and Anthony Facciuto. By age 12, it became apparent that Joe could become a serious musician. But, he also had a keen interest in learning the craft of building accordions, and his father was eager to teach him. Joe recalls that he was faced with a difficult decision, as there was not time for hours of practice if he wanted to devote himself to learning the complex trade of accordion building. Joe made the difficult choice to follow in his father’s footsteps, focusing on the art of building accordions rather than playing them as a career. Reflecting on this choice, Joe has come to the conclusion that in reality he had little, if any choice: ‘My brother became a school teacher and my sister got married, so I was left to join the family business’. Regardless of the reason, we can be sure that Carlo was pleased that his son, Joe, made the eventful decision.
A Modern Evolution - 313 NE 45th St.
In 1955, Petosa Accordion Company moved from the humble workshop in Carlo's home to 313 NE 45th St. Seattle, Washington. Carlo and Joe also had the foresight to expand the business in 1945 by creating a partnership with our factory in Castelfidardo, Italy known as Zero Sette Co. In Seattle, Carlo and Joe continued to build and refine the Petosa professional artist model accordions while the factory in Italy built all Petosa student models – later manufacturing the same high quality that goes into every Seattle-built Petosa. As in the early days, it still takes upwards of a year and sometimes longer, to build a Petosa from start to finish. As Joe Sr. says, ‘you can’t hurry quality’. The time involved in producing each accordion makes high-quantity production impossible. The wood used in the instruments must first be aged years before it is ever cut and shaped into accordion pieces. After a box is made, it must dry, age and season at minimum an additional 6 weeks. ‘A quality accordion is like a quality violin. You can’t just stamp one out, or make one on an assembly line with machines’.
Top-of-the-line professional petosa models were individually custom made by Joe, Joe Jr. and long-time assistant, Giuliano Bugari – a master accordion builder who came over from Italy to help keep up with production demand. Like his Father, Joe Jr. began learning the trade after school and on weekends at the age of 12. After graduating with a degree in Business, Joe Jr. joined the business full-time in 1980. Through the downturn of the 80's and 90's, Joe Jr. created new avenues for the company, evolving the accordioncentric business model to a modern, full-service music store.
Expansion - petosa music
Thanks to Rock n' Roll, the accordion industry as a whole laid mostly dormant throughout the late 70's, 80's and 90's. As a highly successful accordion manufacturer, the company needed to get creative and chose to fulfill the needs of busy Seattle musicians. In 1977, now Petosa Music, focused on continuing the craft of building the world's highest quality accordions while offering a vast array of musical instruments and gear for the modern music scene. Joe Jr. and brothers established the company as one of Seattle's premier music stores that specialized in premium products and as always, focused primarily on customer service. The motto still driving the company today, 'A product is only as good as the customer service behind it'.
Born in 1988, fourth generation Joey Petosa III follows in his forefather's footsteps. After graduating from University of Washington in 2010, Joey joined the family business after years of learning the trade on weekends and in between athletic events. Having played accordion since he was 5 years old, like those before him, Joey appreciated the historical significance of his family's business as it was always a substantial part of his life. After college, he devoted himself to optimizing the family business in a new and modern era while continuing to perfect the production of all petosa accordions.
The New Era - 100 years
After 94 years in Wallingford, a new era of business required a revamped facility that would offer a more suitable environment for modern times. In 2017, the company moved its headquarters north to Lynnwood, WA. The new location provides a much improved customer experience with a devoted parking lot, studios for demonstration purposes, an optimized service facility and shipping department to keep up with e-commerce, and much more. On any given day, the Lynnwood location will be active with visitors from all over the world.
A Century Later - The New Era
Joe Petosa Sr.
Joey Petosa Jr.
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Service / Education
Media / Education
Pro Audio Specialist